Earlier this week, an arbitrator ruled that the NFL’s policy of placing players who are under investigation on paid leave using the commissioner’s exempt list is valid, as Mark Maske of the Washington Post writes. The NFL Players Association had filed a grievance against the policy, which has affected players such as Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy, but the league scored a win over the union after having seen a handful of Roger Goodell‘s decisions overturned in court within the last couple years.
In the wake of the arbitrator’s ruling, optimism has “dimmed considerably” about the prospects of the NFL and NFLPA reaching a compromise on Goodell’s role in player discipline, writes Maske. Multiple sources tell Maske that there are no negotiations happening between the two sides regarding that issue at this point, with one source suggesting it may not be addressed until the next CBA: “We are where we are…. [It] seems like [there’s] nothing to talk about until 2020.”
As we wait to see what battle is next on the docket for the NFL and NFLPA, let’s check in on a few more odds and ends from around the NFL…
- A pair of running backs have been dealing with legal trouble this week, with free agent Montee Ball arrested for felony bail jumping and Rams back Tre Mason missing an arraignment related to his March arrest. WKOW’s Robyn Turner has the story on Ball, while Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com has the details on Mason.
- Eastern Kentucky pass rusher Noah Spence is visiting the Texans today and will visit the Saints tomorrow, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Meanwhile, another potential first-round defender with some off-field question marks, Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss, has visits on tap with the Saints and Bengals, says Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter).
- Joel Corry of CBSSports.com and Mike Sando of ESPN.com (Insider link) had similar ideas, with each scribe writing articles proposing trades that could take place before or during this year’s draft. Both Corry and Sando suggested hypothetical deals involving Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas, Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, and Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
- The NFL’s VP of football operations Merton Hanks has left the league office, multiple sources tell Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. It’s not known if the NFL or Hanks made the final call on his departure, but one source tells PFT that the move was part of an effort by the league to upgrade in that area. Two other NFL employees, Joe Hurta and Russ Giglio, are out as well, says Florio.