NFC South Notes: Falcons, Quinn, Newton, Hill

The Falcons were told at this week’s owners meetings that they will face “severe” discipline for violating an NFL policy, according to ESPN. The Falcons were investigated for piping artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome over the last two seasons, which team owner Arthur Blank acknowledged in February, and the severity of their punishment will be announced next week. Per ESPN, the Falcons could face “a hefty fine, a loss of a draft pick or picks, or other penalties,” though Blank and the team have been fully cooperative in the league’s investigation.  

“We have great respect for the shield and the integrity of the game, the integrity of competition,” said Blank.

Here’s more on the Falcons and one of their NFC South rivals:

    • The Falcons are done free agency shopping after adding linebackers Brooks Reed and Justin Durant, defensive end Adrian Clayborn, and tight ends Jacob Tamme and Tony Moeaki, among others, this offseason. They will now turn their attention toward the upcoming draft, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We’re always looking,” new head coach Dan Quinn said in regards to adding more free agents, but he also stated that “the focus has kind of shifted to the draft.”
    • Quinn shot down the notion that the Falcons recently discussed a trade with the Seahawks for defensive end Michael Bennett, reports Ledbetter.  “I don’t know where that story came from,” said Quinn. “It was just one of those random things that should have been mark down as ‘nothing.’ He’s a great player, but there have been no talks at all.” Quinn coordinated Seattle’s defense from 2013-14, during which time Bennett combined for 15.5 sacks.
    • Panthers head coach Ron Rivera told reporters he’s confident that the team and Cam Newton will work toward a new contract, adding that he’d like to see it get done prior to the season (Twitter links via Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer and’s David Newton). Newton is entering the final year of his deal.
    • Rivera also said Wednesday that having Stephen Hill in the mix takes some pressure off the Panthers when it comes to drafting a wide receiver, per David Newton (via Twitter). Despite Rivera’s endorsement, Hill hasn’t shown himself to be much of a threat since entering the league in 2012. He caught a combined 45 passes between 2012-13 for the Jets and spent last season on the Panthers’ practice squad. It’s tough to imagine his presence will heavily influence the Panthers come draft time.
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