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Falcons fined, lose draft pick for pumping in fake noise (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:35:44 PDT)
The NFL has fined the Atlanta Falcons, stripped the organization of a draft pick and suspended team president Rich McKay from the league's Competition Committee beginning April 1 following the team's use of fake noise at home games. In statement released Monday, the league announced that the Falcons have been fined $350,000 and will forfeit their fifth-round selection in the 2016 draft. If the Falcons have multiple picks in that round, the highest selection will be forfeited. The NFL noted throughout the 2013 season and into the 2014 season the Falcons violated league rules that state ''at no point during the game can artificial crowd noise or amplified crowd noise be played in the stadium.'' The league also said Roddy White, the team's former director of event marketing, was directly responsible for the violation and would have been suspended without pay for the first eight weeks of the 2015 regular season had he still been with the club.

Falcons to lose draft pick, but Browns won't for their crime (Shutdown Corner)
(Mon, 30 Mar 2015 09:30:28 PDT)
There had been a little debate going around league circles the past few months. Which was the worse crime: Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer found guilty of texting down from the booth to the sideline or the Atlanta Falcons guilty of piping in crowd noise during games? It turns out that the Falcons got the worst of it, losing a draft pick while the Browns didn't. The Falcons will lose a fifth-round pick in 2016 for the crowd noise controversy, ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure said. Falcons president Rich McKay was suspended from the NFL's competition committee, effective April 1. He can't be reinstated until June 30 at the earliest, McClure reported. McKay has been on the competition committee the past 21 years. Roddy White, the former director of event marketing (no, not the Falcons receiver, there were actually two Roddy Whites in the organziation ) was found to be solely responsible for pumping in the crowd noise and he'll get an eight-game suspension to be served if he lands another NFL job, McClure said . Even though White was responsible, McKay oversees the game-day operations. The Falcons were also fined $350,000. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer confirmed the Browns' punishment: A $250,000 fine to the organization and a four-game suspension without pay for Farmer. The reason the Browns didn't lose a pick, apparently, was that ownership and other team executives didn't know of Farmer's actions. That's why most of the punishment came down on Farmer himself. Is McKay's spot with the Falcons in jeopardy? That much is not clear. He's working closely with the team's newly formed AMB Sports & Entertainment Group, which will oversee the Falcons' new stadium development. But this latest incident will not go over well with owner Arthur Blank, and it's clearly a team in transition with a new head coach and a reformed front-office structure. What about Farmer with the Browns? This incident alone might not be cause for termination, but if the Browns flounder and Farmer's recent draft haul and free-agent additions don't pan out, that might be enough for this rudderless ship of a team to make yet another tack in the flight plan. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm

Shaun King's mock draft 2.0: Amari Cooper holds WR lead; Randy Gregory remains in top 10 (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 26 Mar 2015 10:27:34 PDT)
There are varying opinions regarding the best WR in this year's draft. All would be upgrades for Oakland, but Cooper represents the least risk.

NFL Transactions Tracker (Rotoworld)
(Wed, 25 Mar 2015 22:38:00 PDT)
Nick Mensio keeps track of every offseason transaction for all 32 teams.

Falcons' free-agent plan may include keeping Julio Jones (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:54:39 PDT)
The Falcons' financially conservative approach to this year's free-agent signings may have been influenced by hopes of keeping star wide receiver Julio Jones from leaving next year. Jones can be a free agent following the 2015 season. The Falcons exercised their option on the fifth year of Jones' contract at about $10 million for 2015. A new deal for Jones will be costly, especially following his successful recovery from the broken foot which limited him to only five games in 2013.

NFL mock draft: Resetting Rounds 1 and 2 after free agency (Shutdown Corner)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 12:50:02 PDT)
With free agency 2015 on life support and the majority of the top talents off the board, NFL teams’ needs have been reshuffled. Now the draft has come squarely into focus, with only a few major veteran options — hello, Adrian Peterson — likely to seismically alter the course from this point on. Here’s a look (without any projected trades, mind you) of how the first two rounds could go with about five weeks until the draft: 1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  — Florida State QB Jameis Winston Lovie Smith is playing coy with his team’s draft board, and though a team source told Shutdown Corner no final decision has been made on the pick, it’s believed to be Winston. Maybe the Bucs get blown away with a trade offer, but that’s not likely to happen. Instead, they’ll roll the dice on greatness and find ways to protect Winston and shield him from the distractions of being in the NFL spotlight. 2. Tennessee Titans — USC DT-DE Leonard Williams Our gut feeling right now is that the Titans are not enamored with Marcus Mariota. Short of finding a long-term solution at QB, they’ll instead continue to upgrade a front seven that should be markedly better with Williams, Jurrell Casey, Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo and Co. on the attack. The Titans don’t have the most daunting opposing quarterbacks on their schedule this season and should hope to win close games with defense.   3. Jacksonville Jaguars — Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr. Finding an edge rusher will be one of the primary goals for Gus Bradley, David Caldwell and crew after a fruitful free-agency period. They are seeking to add depth across the board, but they need someone to come rip off the front side and live in the backfield. Even if he plays only 40-50 snaps a game, Fowler and his hot motor will be a huge upgrade. 4. Oakland Raiders — West Virginia WR Kevin White The Raiders didn't land a front-line receiver in free agency and will need to find someone who can help Derek Carr grow. White has been the prospect who has ascended the most in the past calendar year and he fits the old-school Raiders mold of the height-weight-speed prospect who also plays angry. A perfect fit, just edging out the smoother, less explosive Amari Cooper. 5. Washington Redskins — Clemson OLB Vic Beasley New Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan surprised many when he took Aldon Smith with the seventh pick in the draft in 2011 and he could open eyes again by taking Beasley here over a few more hyped pass-rush prospects. Beasley might not have Smith’s length, but he has the rare burst to give the Redskins its first pair of 10-sack players (with Ryan Kerrigan coming off the other side) since 2009. 6. New York Jets — Georgia RB Todd Gurley Shocked? Don’t be. Oh, the Jets are not likely to take Gurley, coming off ACL surgery, this high in the draft. But the Jets brass — which are working out Mariota at week’s end up in Oregon — won’t take a quarterback high if they are not blown away. Instead, they’ll select the player who could be the quarterback’s best friend in time if Gurley's knee looks good at the Indianapolis medical re-test next month. Although I am not projecting trades, the Cleveland Browns could be a team interested in moving into this spot for Mariota, and Gurley still could be on the board when the Jets swing back around. There's also a rumble that the Miami Dolphins are high on Gurley.

Proposal to owners: order unstable player off field (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 24 Mar 2015 01:58:15 PDT)
The NFL might be giving more power to its in-game medical observers. On a busy Monday when the league announced it would drop local TV blackouts for the 2015 season, player safety and catches vs. no catches also were prime topics. After looking at video of that situation and several similar ones, the NFL's powerful competition committee is proposing a change. ''We've got the (medical) spotters,'' said Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons and co-chairman of the committee.

Dynasty Stock: 10 Sell Highs (Rotoworld)
(Sun, 22 Mar 2015 13:46:00 PDT)
Nick Mensio makes the case for 10 players to sell high on in Dynasty leagues.

Silva's Pre-Draft Top 150 (Rotoworld)
(Sun, 22 Mar 2015 10:04:00 PDT)
Evan Silva takes a preliminary stand on the Top 150 non-rookies for the 2015 fantasy football season.

Revisiting FA Predictions (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 20 Mar 2015 00:02:00 PDT)
Jesse Pantuosco revisits his predictions after a busy free agency period.

Jets' Smith, Simms to get QB snaps while Fitzpatrick rehabs (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 19 Mar 2015 10:43:24 PDT)
The New York Jets' quarterback competition might not heat up until the summer. While newly acquired Ryan Fitzpatrick continues to rehabilitate from a broken leg, Geno Smith and Matt Simms are expected to get most of the snaps during offseason workouts. Fitzpatrick, traded from Houston for a conditional seventh-round draft pick last week, is expected to be fully healthy by training camp and compete with Smith for the quarterback job. Fitzpatrick broke his left leg during a game against Indianapolis on Dec. 14.

Falcons find help at tight end by signing Jacob Tamme (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 19 Mar 2015 08:55:02 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons have signed free agent Jacob Tamme, looking for help at tight end one year after the retirement of Tony Gonzalez. Tamme had 14 catches for 109 and two touchdowns with the Denver Broncos last season. He set career highs with 67 catches for 631 yards and four touchdowns with quarterback Peyton Manning and the Colts in 2010. Tamme has 178 catches and 10 touchdowns in seven seasons with the Colts and Broncos.

Falcons re-sign 2014 sacks leader Kroy Biermann (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 18 Mar 2015 20:59:33 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday re-signed defensive end Kroy Biermann, who led the team in sacks last season. Biermann (6-3, 255) was a fifth-round pick from Montana in 2008. Biermann may not have been seen as a perfect fit at defensive end or linebacker in the team's new 4-3 scheme. He can provide flexibility, depth and special teams help for new coach Dan Quinn and defensive coordinator Richard Smith.

Significant replay rules changes proposed in NFL (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 18 Mar 2015 14:22:02 PDT)
New England even proposed that everything except scoring plays or turnovers be challengeable. Washington suggested increasing a coach's number of challenges from two to three, regardless of whether he is successful on an early challenge. The Lions felt burned by a flag against the Dallas defense that was picked up in Detroit's loss in January. St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher, a member of the powerful committee, made it clear that his peers wouldn't favor such a change.

Jets have hopes for revamped secondary to be 'great' (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:59:30 PDT)
From glaring weak spot to sudden strength, the New York Jets' revamped secondary has high hopes. Comfortably under the salary cap, new general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles went to work last week and addressed their defensive backs in a big way. They brought back cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, signed former Browns cornerback Buster Skrine, and added former Chargers safety Marcus Gilchrist during the first few days of the NFL's free agency period. ''We all have to come together, play together, and see where it's going to go,'' Skrine said during a conference call Wednesday.

Cowboys add pair of linebackers in Brinkley, Gachkar (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 16 Mar 2015 18:21:11 PDT)
The Cowboys have signed linebackers Jasper Brinkley and Andrew Gachkar after losing a couple of starters in free agency. Brinkley spent five of his first six years with Minnesota after the Vikings drafted him in the fifth round in 2009. The 29-year-old Brinkley's best season came in 2012, with 100 tackles while starting 15 of 16 games. He was in Arizona in 2013 before returning to Minnesota last season.

Cowboys moving on to life without Murray, other key players (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:52:35 PDT)
NFL rushing champ DeMarco Murray is gone to NFC East rival Philadelphia, two starting linebackers have moved on as well, and the Dallas Cowboys will have to find a new kick returner. The signing of fullback Jed Collins on Thursday, not long after word spread that Murray had agreed to a big contract with the Eagles. The loss of Murray was far from a surprise. The Cowboys have said for weeks they wanted to keep the 27-year-old running back, but made no secret that the price had to be right.

Falcons add free agents Clayborn, Adams, Schofield to D (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 12 Mar 2015 15:35:12 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons added more defensive help from the free-agent market Thursday by signing defensive end Adrian Clayborn, cornerback Phillip Adams and linebacker O'Brien Schofield. Schofield spent the last two seasons playing for former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, now the new Falcons coach. The Falcons have signed seven free agents this week. Atlanta opened the free-agent period Tuesday by signing linebackers Brooks Reed of Houston and Justin Durant of Dallas.

4 players to tour Middle East with USO (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 12 Mar 2015 11:18:33 PDT)
Browns center Alex Mack and Saints defensive tackle Akiem Hicks are among four NFL players who will visit U.S. troops in the Middle East.

Suh to Miami, Bulaga to Packers in free agency (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 11 Mar 2015 21:56:39 PDT)
The free agency frenzy, trading outbreak and stunning retirements of the first day of the NFL's business year gave way to one headliner Wednesday: Ndamukong Suh. Miami signed the All-Pro defensive tackle and top prize in this year's free agent crop to a $114 million, six-year contract. It made Suh the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history, surpassing J.J. Watt's $100 million, six-year deal with Houston. At the same time our quarterback is going to be a cornerstone, Ryan Tannehill, who I have a lot of respect for: No. 1 because he has taken my hits.'' They played each other last season, a 20-16 Detroit victory.

Cardinals agree to terms with 5 free agents (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 11 Mar 2015 17:48:29 PDT)
The busy Arizona Cardinals have kept up the pace. Guard Mike Iupati, inside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and defensive tackle Corey Peters were introduced at a news conference at Cardinals headquarters on Wednesday. A short time later, the team announced it had signed defensive end Cory Redding and center/guard A. Q. Shipley. Iupati, a three-time Pro Bowl player for San Francisco and All Pro in 2012, agreed to a five-year deal worth up to $40 million with $22.5 million guaranteed.

Falcons sign Hankerson for depth at wide receiver (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 11 Mar 2015 15:52:30 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons added depth at wide receiver on Wednesday by signing free agent Leonard Hankerson, who fought two serious injuries in his four seasons with the Washington Redskins. Hankerson hurt his left knee late in the 2013 season and due to the extended recovery played in only one game in 2014. The Falcons needed depth behind starting receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White after releasing Harry Douglas, who has agreed to terms with the Tennessee Titans. Hankerson (6-2, 211) has 81 career catches for 1,081 yards in 31 games, including 14 starts.

Colts sign veteran WR Andre Johnson (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 11 Mar 2015 15:32:25 PDT)
Andre Johnson just wanted a chance to win a championship. So Wednesday, two days after the Texans released their longtime star, the 33-year-old receiver signed a three-year deal with the Colts. Johnson will replace one of his closest friends, Reggie Wayne, and team up with another, Frank Gore, to chase a Super Bowl title. We came here to win and accomplish that ultimate goal.'' While Johnson fills the void left by Wayne, a 14-year veteran who spent his career in Indy after playing with Johnson at the University of Miami, the circumstances are a bit awkward.

Titans sign free-agent safety Da'Norris Searcy (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 11 Mar 2015 14:02:01 PDT)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Titans have signed free-agent safety Da'Norris Searcy, who spent the last four seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

Titans agree to terms with free-agent receiver Douglas (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 11 Mar 2015 11:07:55 PDT)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Titans have agreed to terms with free-agent wide receiver Harry Douglas.

NFL trades, retirements, and Revis Island back to NJ (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 10 Mar 2015 23:58:32 PDT)
The NFL's business season began with a bang. It wasn't until mid-evening Tuesday that the first huge star took advantage of free agency: Darrelle Revis returning to the Jets for five years and $70 million. Monster deals sent Saints tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle and Rams quarterback Sam Bradford to Philadelphia. San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis, plagued by sore feet, announced his retirement.

Big trades steal spotlight from free agents (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 10 Mar 2015 19:01:49 PDT)
Until the New York Jets landed Darrelle Revis, the first hours of NFL free agency Tuesday looked more like fantasy football. Monster deals sending Jimmy Graham to Seattle and Sam Bradford to Philadelphia stole the spotlight from free agent signings.

Falcons sign free-agent linebackers Reed, Durant (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 10 Mar 2015 16:39:08 PDT)
The Atlanta Falcons fortified the middle of new coach Dan Quinn's defense Tuesday by signing free-agent linebackers Brooks Reed and Justin Durant. Reed (6-foot-3, 254) had 14 1/2 sacks in four seasons as a starter with the Houston Texans. Durant, 29, has logged eight NFL seasons with Jacksonville, Detroit and Dallas. Durant's 2014 season with the Cowboys ended when he was placed on IR on Oct. 29 with a torn biceps in his right arm.

Falcons re-sign backup QB T.J. Yates (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 10 Mar 2015 07:21:55 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons have re-signed backup quarterback T.J. Yates.

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