As former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue prepares to issue a decision as to the appeal of the suspensions imposed by current Commissioner Roger Goodell on Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma, Saints defensive end Will Smith, Browns linebacker Scott Fujita and free-agent defensive end Anthony Hargrove, Tagliabue’s work won’t be interrupted by a settlement by the players and the NFL.
PFT has confirmed that a last-ditch settlement effort was initiated by the league, and that it was rejected by the players. The offer included proposed reductions in the penalties, but it was contingent on the players acknowledging responsibility for violations of league policy.
Ed Werder and Chris Mortensen of ESPN first reported on the settlement offer and the rejection by the players. They report that Smith was offered a four-game fine and Hargrove was offered a two-game suspension.
Smith faces a four-game suspension, and Hargrove’s eight-game suspension was previously reduced to two games, to be served after he joins a team.
It’s unknown what, if anything, was offered to Fujita, who faces a one-game suspension, or Vilma, who is due to be suspended for the balance of the season.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the offer has been viewed as a last-ditch effort by the league to save face in advance of Tagalibue’s ruling.