Scott Van Pelt discussing the NFL on SportsCenter Photo credit: ESPN

The NFL might care about the Atlanta Falcons tampering with Kirk Cousins before the league’s free agency period officially began, but Scott Van Pelt does not.

On Thursday, the NFL stripped the Falcons of their fifth-round pick in next year’s draft, fined the team $250,000 and general manager Terry Fontenot $50,000 after it was deemed they violated the league’s anti-tampering rules prior to the start of free agency. According to the NFL, the Falcons violated those rules with the signings of Cousins, wide receiver Darnell Mooney and tight end Charlie Woerner. Atlanta’s deals with Cousins and Woerner were announced the same day that the NFL’s 52-hour legal tampering window opened on March 11, while Mooney’s signing was reported the next day.

But who is the NFL kidding by acting like teams contacting impending free agents isn’t a regular occurrence? Not Scott Van Pelt. Thursday night, Van Pelt sort of mocked the idea of the NFL hitting Atlanta with tampering penalties during his nightly edition of SportsCenter.

“I think we all understand that there has to be a ton of collusion,” Van Pelt bluntly stated. “Every year the free agency window opens, the minute it opens, Adam Schefter is tweeting it out, there are massive agreements. So how do we think that all happened, huh? Come on. We’re all adults here. It’s collusion. It’s fine.”

Teams tamper with impending free agents. Adam Schefter gives those teams fancy chocolate in exchange for scoops. Schefter then reports those transactions shortly after the free agency period begins, and Van Pelt is now pulling back the curtain on things everyone already knows. Teams contact top free agents before they’re legally allowed to. This time, the Falcons got caught.


About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to