The NFL and NFLPA are working toward a deal that would take away commissioner Roger Goodell's authority to discipline players for their off-field conduct, Matthew Futterman of The Wall Street Journal reports.
It doesn't appear that a deal will be reached in the near future, but both parties appear to be negotiating in good faith.
"We've been talking about changes to the personal conduct policy since October and have traded proposals," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said. "We looked at the league's proposal for neutral arbitration. There is a common ground for us to get something done."
With the NFL owners slated to meet next week in Orlando, Fla., the idea of stripping Goodell's disciplinary power may continue to gain traction.
"This is an important area that deserves to be addressed thoughtfully and with full consideration for everyone’s interests - players, clubs and fans. We are addressing the subject in a serious way and will continue to discuss this directly with the union and not in the media," NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
Sources told Futterman that one proposal would involve three neutral arbitrators working as officers during prospective disciplinary hearings. Futterman reports the arbitrators would be former judges or lawyers with some background in the sport, but it's not clear how they would be selected.
Under the league's current structure, Goodell holds singular power to levy suspensions for off-the-field matters. The commissioner was heavily scrutinized for his handling of the Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Tom Brady suspensions over the past two years, and all three suspensions were overturned upon appeal.