I fall in the middle. I think they should be punished and the only way you can effectively punish a team is by taking away draft picks or imposing a salary cap penalty. Monetary fines don’t work.
A salary cap penalty would hurt the players, which in my opinion is unfair to them as they weren’t to blame. So a draft pick penalty is most logical, but probably only one. I think they should lose a 4th rounder. Anything later loses its impact since those players are typically not always expected to make the team and anything earlier would be too much.
I think that what they were doing is wrong, but it’s not exactly the biggest offense in the world. It’s true that it would be pretty easy for any team to employ a similar tactic, and that most of these signals are performed in plain sight. The signs are generally coded signals for a reason. Calling it espionage is a bit much, but then again it’s against the rules so most teams probably aren’t doing it which makes it an unfair advantage to those who do.
I think it’s about time that defensive captains are allowed to wear radio receivers like the QBs do. I don’t particularly think that it makes the game more interesting for the fans when teams spend an inordinate amount of time encoding defensive signals or running in new players with the calls. I also don’t want the alternative where stealing signals is openly allowed as simply another form of “scouting” either. I don’t exactly want the guy with the smartest encoder/decoder to have an advantage, that’s not really football. I want those smart guys thinking about game plans, not counter-intelligence.