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Falcons penalized in Kirk Cousins ​​tampering case while Eagles skate

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The NFL has issued its long-awaited rulings in the tampering cases against the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles.

Conclusion? There’s not much to see here.

The league announced Thursday that this was not enough evidence to punish the Eagles amid their (ultimately successful) free agent pursuit of running back Saquon Barkley. The Falcons, meanwhile, will forfeit next year’s fifth-round draft pick and pay a $250,000 fine for violating the anti-tampering policy “related to inappropriate contact with potential unrestricted free agents Kirk Cousins, Darnell Mooney and Charlie Woerner” prior to this year’s election. allowed negotiating window prior to the official opening of the free agent market in March. Atlanta General Manager Terry Fontenot will also pay a $50,000 fine.

Regarding the penalty for the Falcons, the league said in a statement: “While the policy allows clubs to engage and negotiate with the certified agent of each potential unrestricted free agent during the two-day negotiation period regarding all aspects of an NFL player contract, any direct contact between the player and an employee or representative of the club is prohibited. This includes discussions regarding travel arrangements or other logistics matters which the club acknowledges have occurred in relation to these three players.”

Cousins, the Falcons’ new quarterback, Mooney and Werner all signed with Atlanta – Cousins ​​got a four-year, $180 million contract that enticed him to leave the Minnesota Vikings after six years in the Twin Cities.

Regarding the Eagles’ case, the NFL revealed that it had “reviewed phone logs, text messages and other documents related to Philadelphia’s free agency strategy and decision to sign Barkley. The NFL also interviewed several members of the organization, including (GM) Howie Roseman and (head coach) Nick Sirianni, as well as Barkley and Penn State head coach James Franklin, should any new evidence come to light in any review, the league can reopen investigation.

Franklin coached Barkley at Happy Valley from 2015 to 2017. Barkley was drafted second overall in 2018 by the New York Giants, his only NFL employer, before jumping to their NFC East archrivals.

The rulings resolve the controversies stemming from two of this season’s most high-profile free agents. After signing with the Falcons, Cousins ​​indicated during his introductory press conference that he had been in contact with Atlanta’s head coach before the new league year began on March 13. While agents are allowed to speak to teams during the negotiation period, players who do not represent themselves are barred from contact.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank told Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY Sports in March that the organization had done “nothing intentionally” to circumvent league rules.

“I know from our standpoint there was no tampering,” Blank said. “Whatever conversation there was, it was very innocent. We will see. Whatever the league decides, we will handle it.”

Barkley agreed to a three-year, $37.75 million contract with Philadelphia on March 11, when the negotiating window opened. A day later, however, Franklin said his former star student relayed a conversation with Roseman. The Eagles denied any wrongdoing and Barkley said Franklin’s portrayal was not accurate.

“Coach Franklin, I think, has been misinterpreted a little bit,” Barkley said at his introductory news conference. “The truth was the sales pitch to Penn State, how many Penn State fans are Philadelphia Eagles fans. But that was through my agent and my agent told me that. It happens. I’ll let Philly handle that.”