Kirk Cousins admits to direct communications with Falcons during negotiating period

The first rule of Tampering Club is don't be talk about tampering. Kirk Cousins, on Wednesday night, talked about the Falcons tampering with him.

The indications were already there. The Falcons were not supposed to get any medical information regarding Cousins's surgically-repaired Achilles tendon until Monday at noon ET. Within 90 minutes, they had negotiated a contract with him that pays $100 million guaranteed. Common sense suggests that they knew things before they were supposed to know things.

Common sense also suggests that the Falcons communicated and/or negotiated with agent, Mike McCartney, before the negotiating period began. But, hey, everybody does it.

Most are discreet. The Falcons got a little loose, a little careless. Beyond the question of whether tight end Kyle Pitts began recruiting Cousins on his own or at the behest or with the knowledge of the team, there's reason to believe the team directly communicated with Cousins during the 52-hour negotiating window. That's clearly prohibited, as the Chiefs learned eight years ago when they lost a third-round pick for speaking directly to receiver Jeremy Maclin during the legal tampering period.

During his introductory press conference, Cousins inadvertently said the quiet part out loud. He admitted that he spoke to the team's head athletic trainer on Tuesday, after apparently starting to say that he actually met with him.

"There's great people here," Cousins said. "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, talking to our head of P.R. I'm thinking, we got good people here. And that's exciting to be a part of."

League rules do not allow that. While it often happens, it rarely comes to light so clearly. It's exactly the kind of thing that could get the league to mobilize, even though it typically looks the other way when it comes to tampering.

Sometimes, it's just too obvious. Sometimes, it's just too blatant. Sometimes, the league has to do something, even if it doesn't want to.