Report: Resolution of Falcons, Eagles tampering cases is “likely to come this week”

When last we heard about a potential resolution of the pending tampering cases against the Falcons and Eagles, the word was that a final decision come during draft week. Right away, the NFL said it won’t.

Now, Adam Schefter of reports this: “A resolution in the alleged free agent tampering cases of the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles is likely to come this week, per league sources.” (Whether the NFL follows with a statement that it won’t happen remains to be seen.)

A decision is inevitable, in both cases. And both cases are very different. As to the Falcons, quarterback Kirk Cousins (who recently downplayed the situation) admitted to four different potential violations during his introductory press conference. If the NFL is as motivated to hammer the Falcons as it has been in the past to nail the likes of the Patriots, the Falcons will face a massive punishment as the culmination of an aggressive investigation that looked at phone records, emails, surveillance cameras, and more.

For the Eagles, the tampering investigation was sparked by a second-hand remark from Penn State coach James Franklin, who said that Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman sold running back Saquon Barkley on jumping from the Giants by pointing to the number of Nittany Lions loyalists in the Philly fan base. There was nothing from Barkley, for example, acknowledging he’d spoken directly with Roseman or anyone else from the Eagles during the 52-hour negotiating window that strictly prohibits direct contact between team and player. As to the Eagles, the only way to justify punishment would be to engage in very aggressive investigation that would go beyond the denials of the involved parties.

Will the NFL pursue both teams with equal zeal? Absent a full-blown Ted Wells report rivals the length of an H.G. Wells novel, we won’t know what they did, why they did it, what they didn’t do, and why they didn’t do it.

By all appearances, the Falcons engaged in the most blatant case of tampering we’ve seen. Some wonder whether Rich McKay’s influence and clout will save the Falcons.

Bottom line, there’s no way the NFL can punish the Eagles without engaging in the kind of investigation that would compel the NFL to come down hard on the Falcons. Even for the consistently inconsistent NFL, the notion of two simultaneous investigations using two dramatically different investigative and disciplinary outcomes seems unlikely.

But not impossible. Eventually, we’ll find out. Or, if the NFL operates with no transparency, maybe we won’t.

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