Falcons forfeit draft decide, fined for tampering; Eagles cleared

The Atlanta Falcons on Thursday had been docked a fifth-round decide within the 2025 draft and fined $250,000 for violating the NFL’s anti-tampering coverage associated to free agent signings, whereas the league cleared the Philadelphia Eagles of tampering whereas signing working again Saquon Barkley this offseason.

The tampering violations for the Falcons had been a results of “improper contact” with three gamers previous to their official unrestricted free company interval: quarterback Kirk Cousins, broad receiver Darnell Mooney and tight finish Charlie Woerner.

Along with the workforce penalties, the NFL fined Falcons common supervisor Terry Fontenot $50,000.

After Cousins was signed to a four-year deal value as much as $180 million on the primary official day of free company, he indicated throughout his introductory information convention that he spoke with the Falcons’ head coach earlier than 4 p.m. ET on March 13, when the brand new league yr started.

Groups are allowed to talk solely with brokers in the course of the 52-hour free agent negotiating window after the beginning of the brand new league yr and can’t converse immediately with gamers — except the participant represents himself and would not have an agent. Cousins is represented by Mike McCartney, who had introduced on social media two days previous to the beginning of the brand new league yr that the quarterback had agreed to phrases with the Falcons.

“Whereas the coverage permits golf equipment to interact with and negotiate all points of an NFL participant contract with the licensed agent of any potential unrestricted free agent in the course of the two-day negotiating interval, any direct contact between the participant and an worker or consultant of the membership is prohibited,” the NFL stated in an announcement. “This contains dialogue of journey preparations or different logistical issues, which the membership acknowledges passed off with regard to those three gamers.”

Mooney signed a three-year, $39 million cope with Atlanta, and Woerner received a three-year, $12 million contract.

“We’re happy this evaluate is full,” the Falcons stated in an announcement. “We cooperated totally with the league and its evaluate, and recognize the NFL’s thoroughness. As we do with each course of, we’ll evaluate how we function and search for methods to enhance.”

The NFL didn’t uncover ample proof to help a discovering that the anti-tampering coverage was violated by the Eagles within the lead-up to signing Barkley.

Shortly after Barkley agreed to phrases with the Eagles on a three-year, $37.75 million contract in March, his former coach at Penn State, James Franklin, recommended common supervisor Howie Roseman spoke to Barkley immediately in the course of the “authorized tampering” interval to promote him on taking part in for Philadelphia, which has a big Nittany Lions fan base.

The Eagles on the time denied having impermissible contact with Barkley, saying all recruiting completed by the workforce is facilitated by way of the agent. Barkley stated Franklin “misinterpreted” how the Eagles went about recruiting him.

“In coming to this conclusion, the league reviewed telephone logs, textual content messages and different paperwork associated to Philadelphia’s free company and determination to signal Barkley,” the league stated in an announcement. “The NFL additionally interviewed a number of members of the group, together with Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni, in addition to Barkley and Penn State head coach James Franklin. As with each evaluate, ought to new proof be uncovered, the league might reopen the investigation.”

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