NFL Trade Rumors: Ruling Expected This Week on Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles Tampering Allegations

The Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles should probably brace for bad news. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL is expected to rule on allegations that the Falcons had improper contact with quarterback Kirk Cousins before free agency and that the Eagles had similar contact with running back Saquon Barkley.

Of the two teams, the Falcons are expected to face stiffer discipline. The Miami Dolphins were docked a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick and fined a total of $2 million for tampering with New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneeers quarterback Tom Brady from 2019 to 2022. That's the stiffest penalty a team has ever faced for tampering, but Brady never even signed with the Dolphins. The Falcons unquestionably benefitted more from their alleged impropriety than the Dolphins did, and rival teams have a right to feel more aggrieved.

Meanwhile, the Eagles are expected to get off relatively lightly, partly because their suspected actions have been deemed less offensive, and partly because Barkley is a relatively modest signing. Cousins landed a four-year, $180 million deal from the Falcons, while Barkley is locked into a three-year, $37.75 million deal. The Kansas City Chiefs forfeited a 2016 third-round pick and a 2017 fifth-round pick for tampering with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin in 2015; the Eagles could face similar discipline.

Ultimately, no amount of punishment will undo the fact that the Falcons and Eagles got their men. Barring some unprecedented suspensions, they won't feel the consequences of their actions this season. If the NFL deems them guilty, they'll probably miss out on some young talent in 2025 and beyond, but any negative impact on their on-field product will be difficult to quantify. The Falcons and Eagles will only truly regret their alleged actions if Cousins and Barkley bomb or if the NFL brings the hammer down like never before.

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