Sources close to the NFL say that the league is ready to offer deals to the suspended New Orleans Saints' players involved in the bounty scandal. According to ESPN, the NFL rumors indicate that the league offered to reduce the suspensions for the players as a settlement to drop the lawsuit against the league.
Jonathan Vilma, suspended a year for his alleged role in the bounty scandal, led the lawsuit against the NFL. Vilma claimed that Roger Goodell has no evidence against him and that he never took part in the bounty allegations to begin with. His charges in the lawsuit are for slandering his name.
The NFL offered the settlement last week but will only give it to the players if Vilma agrees to drop his lawsuit. This makes it pretty clear that the NFL fears the court system outside of Goodell's NFL dictatorship. It seems they might fear Vilma winning the lawsuit, which means that Goodell might not hold the evidence he claimed he did when bringing the player's names to the public.
This affects more than Vilma. If the player drops his lawsuit, the NFL would reduce Vilma, Will Smith, Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita's suspensions. Vilma's suspension would drop from a year to only eight games, however dropping the suit almost makes it look like he is pleading guilty to the charges for a reduced punishment.
The players go back to court on August 10 and the settlement might change at that time. There are also NFL rumors that, if the case goes to court and the players win, the Saints would push for a reduction in head coach Sean Payton's suspension as well.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.