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Falcons bracing for severe Decibacle punishment

The Falcons anticipate that their punishment for the fake crowd noise scandal will be handed down from the NFL next week, and reports suggest that the consequences could be severe.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL announced the 2015 draft order this week, leading to some speculation that draft picks may not be involved in the punishments for the Falcons and Browns, who are facing league discipline stemming from the Decibacle and Textgate situations, respectively. Well, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff is bracing for a stiff penalty involving draft picks, based on comments he made on Atlanta's 680 The Fan this morning.

Per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Dimitroff said the team is prepared for multiple scenarios on draft day, which isn't really a deviation for the team. We are just so full of scenarios and that's kind of how we approach the offseason as it is," Dimitroff said. "We've been very detailed on how we are going to approach things if in fact we have availability at certain points in the draft."

Reports circulated that the team had been made aware of the impending penalty at the owners' meeting, but Dimitroff said he is unaware of the details of the punishment at this time, and that such communication generally comes from the league office in writing.

Darin Gantt at mentions that the Falcons' penalty could be as high as a second or third round pick. For Spygate, the Patriots lost a first-round pick, but had they missed the playoffs, they would have retained their first-round pick and lost a second and a third instead. The Patriots were also fined $250,000. For Bountygate, the Saints lost second-round picks in consecutive seasons. Their first-round pick in 2012 had been traded to the Patriots, and thus could not be forfeited by the Saints. The team was fined $500,000.

For what it's worth, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plan Dealer, who is very reliable when it comes to Browns information, believes that the Browns aren't in danger of losing a higher-round pick for their texting situation. (H/t to our reader FalconDawgFan420.)

Hopefully the same will hold true for the Falcons, as a team that has so many needs can't really afford to lose a high-round pick this season, especially for something as silly as pumping in fake crowd noise, and especially when said crowd noise sure didn't help the Falcons succeed in 2013 or 2014.

What do you expect the punishment to be for Decibacle?