Report: Settlement talk may be seen as Brady admission

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Settlement discussions between the NFLPA and the NFL appear to be crawling along at a glacial pace or slower, but one person familiar with the league's deliberations told the Washington Post that there may be reason to be encouraged by the union's offer to settle in the case of Tom Brady's four-game suspension as a result of Deflategate. 

According to the Post's Mark Maske, a source explained that a willingness by the union to reach an agreement with the league in the case could be seen as an admission of some culpability on Brady's part.

"An admission of guilt," Maske's source said, "is a significant move away from Brady’s previous position."

Of course, just because one person interpreted the NFLPA's motion to settle this way doesn't make fact. And what the Post's story does not clarify is whether or not that "admission of guilt" pertained to the deflation of footballs or to a lack of cooperation with Ted Wells' investigation.

There are myriad reasons for both sides to want to avoid taking the case to federal court, it seems. For Brady's part, avoiding court may mean a quicker outcome, which could mean less of an in-season distraction as the Patriots attempt to defend their recent Super Bowl championship. For the NFL, it may be favorable to avoid federal court, where the league's record for having punishments upheld is far from immaculate. Plus, both sides may rather avoid the discovery process that would come along with a federal court case.

Maske's story also noted that someone with ties to the union believes there is a "reasonable chance" of a settlement, though the source didn't explain what the terms of a settlement might be. 

As far as what individual teams around the league think commissioner Roger Goodell should do in the case, Maske wrote that it appears as though there is "strong sentiment" among at least some teams for the NFL to keep the four-game ban intact. 

"I would find it hard to believe he would change it, given that he made the original decision," a high-ranking official with one franchise told Maske. "Was there anything compelling in the [appeal] hearing to make him change his mind? I don’t know that there was."

The high-ranking official went on to tell Maske that owners want Goodell to make the decision that will boost the standing of his office. 

"I think other owners are concerned about what this means to the commissioner’s credibility," the high-ranking team official said. "Do they care if it’s four games or two games or one game? I’m not sure they do. But they would like to see the commissioner emerge from it credible and looking like he’s dealing from a position of strength. I’m sure there are some [owners] who are anti-Patriots and jealous of their success. And then there are those who have to play them in the first four games."

The best way for Goodell to bolster his credibility, the official said: "I think he has to stay with the same thing."

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