Big mistake by Kirk Cousins might help the Vikings move up in the 2024 NFL Draft

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings enjoyed many benefits after parting with Kirk Cousins last month but a potential tampering violation with the Atlanta Falcons could reportedly help them land a higher pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio suggested that the Vikings and Falcons could swap first-round picks as a settlement for a tampering violation involving Cousins, who signed a four-year, $180 million contract with $100 million guaranteed on March 11 and later admitted he had contact with Falcons staff prior to the start of the league year on Mar. 13.

“The end result could, and perhaps should, be that the Vikings will have the eighth and 23rd picks,” Florio wrote. “Which makes their potential effort to trade up into the top five a little easier.”

Could the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings swap picks in the 2024 NFL Draft?

The evidence mounted when Cousins agreed to his big contract hours after the league’s negotiating window opened on March 11. Speaking at his introductory press conference, Cousins discussed meeting with the Falcons’ training staff to discuss the rehab of his torn Achilles suffered last October, which would be a violation of the league’s tampering rules.

“There’s great people here, and it’s not just the football team,” Cousins said on March 13. “I mean, I’m looking at the support staff. Meeting, calling, yesterday, calling our head athletic trainer, talking to our head of PR. I’m thinking we've got good people here. And that’s exciting to be a part of.”

Cousins was also rumored to discuss obtaining his No. 8 jersey with Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts shortly after the NFL Scouting Combine last month. While Pitts claimed he would make the switch for more targets, Cousins chose to wear No. 18 after finding out it would have cost him “several thousands of dollars” to buy out Pitts’ merchandise.

Cousins was also rumored to have participated in the recruitment of free-agent wide receiver Darnell Mooney during the two-day negotiation window, which would be another violation of the league’s tampering rules.

It creates a mountain of evidence against the Falcons, which leads Florio believe it’s not a question of if they’ll be punished but more how they will be punished.

“If the NFL is serious about getting to the truth, an investigation that makes the blatant tampering even more clear should not require many steps,” Florio said. “The question becomes whether and to what extent the Falcons will be punished.”

Florio cited the third-round pick swap between the Arizona Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles that was a settlement for a tampering case involving Jonathan Gannon. While there was an investigation involving Gannon, the two sides agreed to the swap hours before the start of last year’s draft.

The punishment for Cousins could be more severe as the two teams are dealing with a player as opposed to a coach. While moving back three picks wouldn’t be a major penalty since the Falcons signed Cousins, moving up to the eighth overall pick would be massive for Minnesota as it looks to move up for Cousins’s replacement in this year’s draft.

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