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On Monday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said the NFL could conclude tampering reviews involving the Falcons and Eagles this week. On Tuesday, the NFL said to Schefter that it won’t happen.

From Schefter: “The league’s review into tampering allegations against the Falcons and Eagles is ongoing and will not conclude this week, per the NFL.”

That alone is a favor to the Falcons and Eagles, if either is found guilty of tampering with Kirk Cousins and Saquon Barkley, respectively. If they get whacked, they won’t lose 2024 draft picks.

It’s unclear why it’s taking so long. Last year, the Cardinals tampered with former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon in February, and the resolution was announced just before the draft. This year, the tampering happened, if at all, in March. It would seem to be a fairly simple investigation.

The Eagles are under scrutiny for potentially talking directly to Barkley during the 52-hour negotiating window. The Falcons are being investigated for the same thing when it comes to Cousins — and possibly much more, based on the admissions made by Cousins during his introductory press conference.

As explained on Tuesday’s PFT Live, the eventual resolution as to the Falcons (who blatantly tampered with Cousins) will reveal plenty about the punishment, the crime, and the investigation. The NFL could, for example, use the fact that Cousins started to say he actually met with Atlanta’s head athletic trainer during the negotiating period as a basis for investigating whether a meeting happened. Or the NFL could ignore it.

It will be interesting to see whether the NFL is transparent when it comes to the investigation and the number of infractions found. It also will be interesting to see what the punishment is. The simple reality is that, based on Cousins’s own words, the Falcons potentially committed multiple violations as to multiple players — both Cousins and former Bears receiver Darnell Mooney.

Will either or both teams get punished? Will the NFL disclose facts about the violations? When will the answers come?

For now, we apparently won’t see any of it this week.


Cincinnati has locked up one of its key players for the next two seasons.

The Bengals announced on Tuesday that they’ve re-signed exclusive rights free agent quarterback Jake Browning to a two-year deal.

Browning, 28, has been with the Bengals since 2021 after entering the league as an undrafted free agent with the Vikings in 2019. He did not play in a regular-season game until last season, when he filled in for an injured Joe Burrow.

In nine games with seven starts, Browning performed admirably while filling in for Burrow. he completed 70.4 percent of his passes for 1,936 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 127 yards with three TDs.

The Bengals went 4-3 with Browning as a starter in 2023.

Additionally, Cincinnati announced the signing of quarterback Logan Woodside. The former seventh-round pick spent last year with the Falcons after they picked him up late in the 2022 season.


The question is in the headline. The answer is here: Whatever the NFL wants to do.

That’s one of the most basic realities of a league that makes decisions on a case-by-case basis. Otherwise known as making it up as they go.

Most recently, Arizona’s tampering with Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon resulted in the two teams swapping third-round picks (66 for 94) and the Cardinals getting a fifth-round pick in 2024 from Philadelphia in a deal announced literally minutes before the draft began. Before that, the Dolphins lost a first-round pick for tampering with both Saints coach Sean Payton and Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. (The two teams victimized by the tampering got nothing.)

Then, in 2016, the Chiefs lost a third-round pick (and fines were levied) for the Chiefs communicating directly with Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin during the negotiating window.

Before gauging a potential punishment for the Falcons, it’s important to know the infractions. Kirk Cousins already has said that he spoke to the Falcons’ head athletic trainer during the window that permitted communications between the Falcons and agent Mike McCartney only. Cousins also might have spoken to Falcons director of player Ryan Pace during the negotiating window. Cousins likewise participated in the recruitment of Bears receiver Darnell Mooney during the negotiating window; that surely didn’t happen spontaneously. And Falcons tight end Kyle Pitts spent multiple weeks recruiting Cousins. If Pitts did so at the direction or with the knowledge of the Falcons, that’s another violation.

That’s just the stuff we know about. Cousins might have met with Atlanta’s trainer. He might have met with others. He might have spoken with others. The Falcons might have secured information about Cousins’s torn Achilles tendon before they should have.

If the Falcons get whacked for Cousins talking to the head athletic trainer, a third-round pick would be the punishment — if precedent means anything. If the Falcons are punished for all violations, it could stack into a far more significant punishment.

Again, it all comes down to what the league wants to do. Did they investigate aggressively? Will they seize upon the evidence hiding in plain sight? Will they just brush multiple instances of rules violations under the rug and move on? Will Rich McKay’s role on the Competition Committee get the Falcons better treatment.

We could find out the answer as soon as Thursday. What it is, it will be whatever the NFL chooses to do, with precedent being coincidental at best.


Matt Ryan said last August that he was staying in shape in case a team in need of quarterback help gave him a call, but that call never came and Ryan spent the year calling games for CBS rather than playing in them.

Ryan’s reasoning for saying he was open to playing was likely because the $12 million he was owed by the Colts for the 2023 season would disappear if he retired. That contract is now up and there’s no reason for Ryan to continue casting himself as an active player, so he’s no longer going to do so.

The Falcons released a video on Monday that features Ryan officially retiring as a player. Ryan spent the first 14 years of his career in Atlanta and was named the MVP for the 2016 season. Ryan led the Falcons to the Super Bowl that year, but they lost to the Patriots in overtime after giving up a 28-3 lead.

Atlanta traded Ryan to the Colts for a third-round pick before the 2022 season. He struggled in 12 starts before being benched for the final weeks of the season and the Colts released him in 2023.

Ryan also won offensive player of the year in 2016 and he was named a first-team All-Pro. He was also the offensive rookie of the year after being drafted with the third pick in the 2008 draft.

Ryan is Atlanta’s franchise leader in every meaningful passing category. He ranks seventh in NFL history in passing yards, ninth in passing touchdowns, and fifth in completions.


It’s draft week. It has gotten started with one of the top quarterback prospects sending an open letter to all General Managers, and posting it on ThePlayersTribune.com.

Michael Penix Jr.

He addresses, right out of the gates, his injury history: “4 season-ending injuries in 4 years, Mike. How do I reconcile that?”

“I hear it all the time,” Penix writes later in the letter. “‘He’s been injured, what happens if he gets injured again?’ Haven’t I shown you what that looks like? Haven’t I put almost 2,000 plays on tape since my last injury? Since my ‘fourth-season ending injury in 4 years’ that’s constantly mentioned whenever my name is brought up?”

The letter arrives at a time when some believe Penix will be taken in the top half of round one. Surely, he wants to be taken as high as possible.

And while the letter is addressed to General Managers, the real audience is the fans of the teams that are thinking about taking him and, ultimately, the owners of those teams. There needs to be a comfort level beyond the G.M., or the G.M. won’t be comfortable pinning his career on the selection of Penix.