In a recent revelation, an insider has provided insights into why the NFL issued a relatively lenient punishment to the Atlanta Falcons for tampering. The details shed light on the league’s decision-making process and the factors that influenced the outcome, a $250,000 fine and the loss of a fifth round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft.

According to the insider, the NFL considered several mitigating circumstances before deciding on the Falcons’ penalty. While the specifics of the tampering incident were not disclosed, it involved the Falcons engaging in discussions with Kirk Cousins during the non-tamerping period, something the quarterback himself acknowledged (albeit accidentally) during his introductory press conference.

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Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer said” “I do think that this is one of those scenarios where this is a little bit of a victimless crime, and this stuff happens more than people know. And I don’t know that the league really wanted to open some Pandora’s Box where it’s like, ‘Okay, you know now we’re coming down really hard on this, and now are we gonna be chasing a half dozen cases like it every single year?'”

In the end, while some will be disappointed in what seem like a light punishment, Falcons fans and many across the league will note that it is fair, relative to the act itself.

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The NFL made it clear to many in the know that they did not want to make an example out of the Falcons, though others will say the opportunity was there for them to do so.

The NFL has a history of dealing with tampering cases, and penalties have varied depending on the severity of the infraction. In more egregious cases, teams have faced hefty fines, loss of more significant draft picks, and other sanctions. The Falcons’ case, however, did not warrant such severe measures due to the factors mentioned, at least in the eyes of the NFL.