Blank: 'Don't believe we tampered' for Cousins



ORLANDO, Fla. — Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he doesn’t believe his organization committed tampering during the team’s pursuit of their new quarterback, Kirk Cousins, as the NFL investigates the issue.

“The tampering deal, we obviously don’t believe we tampered, and we shared all the information with the league,” Blank said at the NFL’s annual meeting Monday. “And they’ll review the process and the facts and they are in the middle of doing that, and whatever the result is, we’ll deal with it.”

The Falcons officially signed Cousins to a four-year deal worth up to $180 million on the first day of official free agency, two days after his agent, Mike McCartney, announced on social media that Cousins and Atlanta had agreed to terms.

During Cousins’ opening news conference, he indicated he had spoken with the team’s head trainer before 4 p.m. on March 13, when the new league year was set to open. Teams can speak with agents during the legal negotiating window from noon ET on March 11 until the start of the new year, but cannot speak with players directly unless the player does not have an agent and is his own representation.

“When you get here and you look around and you think, boy, there’s great people here,” Cousins said on March 13. “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 and talking to our head of PR, I’m thinking we’ve got good people here.

“And that’s exciting to be a part of.”

A day after Cousins’ news conference, a league source told ESPN the NFL was looking into the matter.

Atlanta signed Cousins to replace the combination of Taylor Heinicke and Desmond Ridder, who has since been traded to Arizona, as the starting quarterback. Cousins has completed 66.9% of his passes for 39,471 yards, 270 touchdowns and 110 interceptions for Minnesota and Washington after being selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft by the now-Commanders.

Quarterback had been the priority of Atlanta’s offseason and in Cousins, they believe they landed a solution to their position, which the club had been looking for since trading Matt Ryan to Indianapolis in March 2022. Atlanta has not finished a season over-.500 or reached the postseason since 2017.

“Obviously our football folks felt strongly. Our fans I definitely think would concur with that,” Blank said Monday. “He’s a very high-quality quarterback, he’s performed at a high level for 12 years in the league and feel pretty fortunate having him as a quarterback and look forward to seeing the results with him.

“He has all the intangibles, not just the tangibles, but the intangibles. … He’s in house, ready to go to work, he is working and see how it unfolds.”



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