Appeals officer Peter Harvey did not complete (according to the rule) the “expedited” review two weeks after the league’s appeal of the original six-game suspension for one reason was filed. He waits for the university and the union to reach a dead end in their settlement talks.
The message on Monday was that settle remained viable. At this point, every minute Harvey doesn’t pass a judgment means a settlement can still occur. And because the NFL, in effect, controls Harvey, he’ll wait until the NFL tells him that settlement talks have hit a brick wall.
This is the bottom line. No judgment so no compromise.
So where could the land settlement reach? Watson is said to be willing to accept eight matches. The league definitely wants at least 12 games. The obvious compromise is 10 games, plus a fine that turns all or part of 2021 into an unpaid suspension by taking up to $10 million from the full salary he earned last year.
As mentioned earlier, both sides must commit to selling to the public that last year was, in practice, a paid suspension, as he did not play in 2021 due to the off-field problem. This is 100% accurate. But as for the legal tangle, it would have traded with dolphins sometime between mid-March and Labor Day weekend.
Now, there’s a different deal under the microscope. Will the NFL and NFLPA strike a deal that avoids a ruling from Harvey and, therefore, a fight in federal court? The possibility of a settlement remains until Harvey judges.
In fact, settlement can occur even after Harvey issues a ruling. The league would certainly prefer, however, not to hit the inside hammer with something like a one-year suspension and then immediately bring it back to 10 or 12 after the union sued. Time to settle down now, before Harvey rules. And Harvey won’t rule unless there is a real dead end.
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