Kirk Cousins on tampering investigation: "There's not a whole lot there"

When Kirk Cousins first spoke to reporters after signing with the Falcons, he admitted (unwittingly) that the team committed multiple violations of the league's tampering policy. This week, for his second time against the logos-and-sponsors background, Cousins was asked about the status of the investigation.

"The league’s still kind of going through that," Cousins said. "So, I'll let them do it. But there's not a whole lot there."

Um, there is a whole lot there. If the league wants to find it.

Cousins admitted that he spoke to (after starting to say he met with) the team's head athletic trainer during the 52-hour negotiating window where direct communication between team and impending free agent are strictly forbidden. Cousins said he spoke to director of player personnel Ryan Pace, presumably during that same window. Right there, two violations.

Cousins said tight end Kyle Pitts (who strongly denied our suggestion that he was talking to Cousins a week before he agreed to terms) actively recruited Cousins for multiple weeks. If Pitts was acting at the direction of or with the knowledge of the team, that's another violation.

Cousins also admitted that, during the 52-hour window, he personally called Bears receiver Darnell Mooney to close the deal that brought him to Atlanta, too. So, basically, the Falcons' tampering with Cousins was so thorough that it turned him into a tool for tampering with Mooney.

Of course, the league has to want to find violations — and act on them. When it comes to situations like this, the league is horribly inconsistent. Especially with Falcons executive Rich McKay serving as chair of the Competition Committee.

The compound tampering question posed to Cousins included a mention of whether he had to give up his phone. His reaction suggested he wasn't required to do that.

Why wouldn't he be? If the league wants to get to the bottom of this, shouldn't the league want Cousins's phone, Pace's phone, Pitts's phone, the trainer's phone, coach Raheem Morris's phone, G.M. Terry Fontenot's phone? Shouldn't the league want to see security footage from the team facility to see whether Cousins was there before 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday?

In every case, the quality of the outcome of an investigation hinges on the quality of the investigation. If the NFL simply called the Falcons and asked, "Did you tamper?" of course there's not going to be a whole lot there.

But if the NFL went scorched earth on the question of, for example, whether someone took air out of footballs, how can it not go scorched earth now?

That's the problem with the league's make-it-up-as-we-go approach. With no consistency, there's no fairness.

Yes, everyone tampers. Cousins's remarks from March painted the most blatant picture of it that I've ever seen. We'll see whether the league looks the other way — or takes appropriate action.

Regardless, Patriots, Raiders, and Saints fans know what would have happened to their favorite teams if they'd done what the Falcons did.