According to ESPN's Adam Schefter via league sources, "Browns and Falcons officials were informed at this week’s owners meetings of the discipline that is expected to be announced next week." Schefter also cites one source who says the discipline "is expected to be severe."
What exactly would a "severe" punishment for the Browns entail? The thing that fans really care about is if the team will lose a draft pick this year, and if so, what round it will be in. If that is what the severe punishment is related to, it'll be a big blow to the process of acquiring young talent. The punishment could be severe as more of a "package" deal -- for example, if the team is docked a low draft pick, fined a large amount of money, and if GM Ray Farmer is suspended for a portion of the season.
Earlier today, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was interviewed by the media. One of the questions was about the Browns' texting situation:
The Browns have admitted to texting to the sidelines during the game, which apparently in a violation of the electronic device rules. How serious is this and will there be discipline coming?
Again, the same point, any violation of our rules is something we take seriously. It effects the integrity of the game and all 32 teams need to be operating under the same rules. Our clubs expect that and our fans expect that. So any violation is taken seriously. I have not been brought up to speed on that in the last couple of days, obviously I’ve been here, but I’m sure there will be a focus on that in the next couple of days.
Is it a mitigating factor that the Browns text messages were opinions and not designed to give the Browns any sort of a competitive advantage:
I want to be careful about making any comments until I’ve gotten all the facts and I’ve had the chance to review them. Troy Vincent has been focused on this with our staff. There are of course mitigating factors that you have to consider, but the violation of that rule and the integrity of that rule is not necessarily whether you got an advantage or not. It’s that you broke the rule. That is a more general comment. We don’t want people breaking the rules. The 32 clubs want to be operating under the same rules.
We'll monitor this situation closely over the next week to see what type of punishment the league slaps on the Browns. One thing seems for sure now -- they aren't going to get off with a slap on the wrist.