The Pittsburgh Steelers have always been worried that they would have a draft pick stripped away from them by the league for Mike Tomlin’s obstruction of Baltimore Ravens kick-off returner Jacoby Jones on Thanksgiving. While the Steelers lost that rivalry game despite that play, the league was livid at Tomlin and the Steelers for what happened and, as expected, handed Tomlin a six-figure fine. The talk of a loss of a draft pick was temporarily put on hold, and it was later reported that the Steelers would only lose a draft pick in the unlikely event of the Ravens being eliminated from the playoffs due to a tie-breaker in points. The league believes that Tomlin caused the Ravens to lose four points (they kicked a field goal on the ensuing drive), so they would reportedly lose a draft pick if those four points caused the Ravens to miss the playoffs. Now if the Ravens made the playoffs or missed the playoffs due to their record, no punishment would happen.
Under that set of stipulations, it seemed like the Steelers dodged a bullet and would be very unlikely to be punished, since that kind of a scenario would be unlikely to happen.
However, it sounds like that might have been too good to be true for the Steelers, as league sources tell CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora that the Steelers will actually lose a late-round draft pick for the incident. Per La Canfora, the league is going to take away a draft pick from the Steelers even if the Ravens make the playoffs, and the Steelers are moving forward under the assumption that they will lose a pick. It remains to be seen if the league will go through with this rather Draconian punishment (punish Tomlin not the whole team, for crying out loud), but it sounds like the Steelers will most likely lose a pick.
Update: ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the league will most likely “downgrade” the Steelers draft pick, as opposed to taking a pick away entirely.