Browns General Manager Ray Farmer could get suspended, and the team could lose a draft pick, over the investigation that is becoming known as Textgate.
Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that multiple league sources say a suspension, a draft pick forfeiture and a fine are all on the table as the NFL investigates whether team executives texted the coaching staff during games to suggest play calls. That would be a violation of league rules, which limit the types of electronic communications that players, coaches and other team officials can use during games.
According to the report, the investigation could be finished as soon as this week.
One of the reasons that offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan left the Browns at the end of the season is apparently that he felt the front office was meddling in decisions that should have been left to the coaching staff. In particular, executives were reportedly texting Shanahan during games to tell him which plays they wanted called.
The Browns have neither confirmed nor denied that executives texted coaches during games. The team says it is cooperating with the NFL’s investigation.
The Browns are one of three teams being investigated for allegedly breaking rules during games. The Patriots are also being investigated for Deflategate, while the Falcons are being investigated for Noisegate.