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NFL investigating whether Falcons tampered with Kirk Cousins

Cousins said he talked with the Falcons athletic trainer Tuesday

The NFL is officially looking into whether the Falcons potentially talked with Kirk Cousins' camp a little too early.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Thursday "The NFL is looking into potential tampering by the Eagles and Falcons prior to the start of free agency."

The Athletic's Dianna Russini says the investigation is specific to Kirk Cousins' free agency move to the Falcons. The NFL is also looking into Saquon Barkley's signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Both Pelissero and Russini have noted this is standard in these situations.

Cousins agreed to a four-year, $180 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons around 90 minutes into the NFL's two-day 'legal negotiating' window that started Monday.

In his introductory press conference Wednesday night Cousins revealed that Atlanta tight end Kyle Pitts "was probably the first" person to make contact with the veteran QB.

"If I can remember, back a few weeks, he was recruiting," Cousins said Wednesday night. "It's always fun to be wanted and so I appreciated that and he did a great job kind of leading the charge."

Cousins also let slip that he had contact with the Falcons athletic trainer Tuesday, when he was still technically employed by the Vikings.

“There’s great people here,” Cousins said. “And it’s not just the football team. I mean, I’m looking at the support staff. Meeting, calling, yesterday, calling our head athletic trainer, talking to our head of P.R. I’m thinking, we got good people here. And that’s exciting to be a part of.”

Punishment has varied over the years for teams caught tampering. The Jets were fined $100,000 for tampering with Darrelle Revis in 2015. A year later the Chiefs had a third-round pick taken away for talking to receiver Jeremy Maclin during the legal negotiating window.

More recently the Dolphins were fined first- and third-round picks in 2022 for tampering with Tom Brady as well as Saints head coach Sean Payton.