This morning, ESPN reported that New Orleans Saints' linebacker Jonathan Vilma had been offered a deal that would cut his year-long suspension from the NFL in half. Sources suggest that the league proposed the deal with hopes of Vilma dropping his defamation lawsuit against commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFL denies the claim and calls it "completely inaccurate", according to NFL spokesman, Greg Ailleo. If these reports of a deal are true, this won't be the only bargain the NFL will have to make.
If Jonathan Vilma is granted a deal that would reduce his suspension from sixteen games to eight, expect Anthony Hargrove, Will Smith, Scott Fujita, and head coach Sean Payton to all file suits against Commissioner Goodell as well. The domino effect will limit each party's punishment laid down by Goodell. After all, didn't he defame all of these men?
With all of the lawsuits against the NFL right now due to players' safety, it is likely the bargain would be for financial reasons, which it certainly is for Vilma. Especially in a business where the average career is only three and a half years (six for players who make an opening day roster).
It would serve Goodell right if his power-hungry, egotistical attitude comes back to bite him. He has the league on a string. Subsequently, in the most ridiculous of ways, he suspended four players and a coach for playing football the way most players do.
Does Goodell really think that other teams in the NFL don't put their own bounties on certain players? Does he really think that the Miami Dolphins haven't had a bounty on Tom Brady for the past 10 seasons? If Colt McCoy were any sort of a threat last season, I wouldn't be surprised if the league took a look at James Harrison and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
One thing is for sure, it will be interesting to see in the coming days and weeks what will happen with the Roger Goodell-Jonathan Vilma situation.