Falcons catch massive break with announced tampering punishment

Falcons lose fifth-round pick, fined $250k, and GM Terry Fontenot fined $50k for breaking legal tampering rules.
Atlanta Falcons Introduce Raheem Morris as Head Coach
Atlanta Falcons Introduce Raheem Morris as Head Coach / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

After weeks of angst, the Atlanta Falcons have their answer for their tampering violation punishment is, and they should be happy about the results.

The NFL found that the team violated rules during the two-day legal tampering period with QB Kirk Cousins, WR Darnell Mooney, and TE Charlie Woerner. They will lose a 2025 fifth-round pick, be fined $250,000, and general manager Terry Fontenot is fined $50,000.

As Ian Rapoport states, the league allows contact between a team and a certified agent. The Falcons acknowledged that they contacted three free agents and made travel arrangements for them, thus they broke the rules and were punished.

The NFL did not find any violations prior to the legal tampering period.

Falcons should be happy with their final punishment

I have been saying this for weeks: the Atlanta Falcons should be happy with any punishment that doesn't involve a first-round pick. Losing a fifth-round pick is a small price to pay for what they did in free agency.

I was expecting the league to make an example of the Falcons. Losing a fifth-round pick will hardly dissuade teams from doing this in the future.

Of course, what they did was not a huge deal. Sure, they broke the rules but making travel arrangements for their new players is not game-breaking.

I find it hard to believe that the Falcons did not contact Kirk Cousins before the legal tampering period. That is not easy to prove so the NFL likely didn't have evidence.

It is good that this is finally over. We can now move on with the offseason and look forward to seeing Kirk Cousins, Darnell Mooney, and Charlie Woerner on the football field. With training camp approaching, we will see that soon with preseason looming in August.

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