On Friday, an internal appeals panel provided Commissioner Roger Goodell with the blueprint for re-issuing discipline against the four players whose bounty suspensions were vacated last month. Now that the proverbial ball has been teed up, look for Goodell to discipline the players again this week.
Or, as to some of the players, to not discipline them. Friday’s ruling draws a fine line between conduct detrimental to the team and salary cap violations for receiving or paying money for big plays and big hits. As we’ve explained (and thus won’t bore you again with the details), if the punishment has any connection to money, it falls beyond Commissioner Roger Goodell’s jurisdiction. And given that the finding of conduct detrimental for the team arose from the league’s bounty rule, which is premised on money being paid for the infliction of injury, that may not be easy to accomplish.
That said, the NFL possibly will rely upon the word “offer” from its bounty rule, which in the league’s opinion technically doesn’t involve the payment of money.
So maybe Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and Saints defensive end Will Smith ultimately will avoid discipline. Or maybe they won’t. Either way, they and we should find out at some point this week.