The NFL and NFLPA are reportedly closer to a deal that would strip commissioner Roger Goodell of disciplinary power when it comes to off-the-field infractions by the league's players.
"We've been talking about changes to the personal conduct policy since October and have traded proposals," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told the Wall Street Journal. "We looked at the league's proposal for neutral arbitration. There is a common ground for us to get something done."
Implementing an arbitrator for the initial ruling would mean no one on the NFL's side nor the player's side would be in charge of handing down suspensions or fines for off-the-field problems. Instead, a neutral party would oversee the issue and decide which course of action should be taken.
The deal still has some hurdles to overcome, but Goodell has appeared receptive, stating back in September that he would be open to changing the league's current disciplinary structure.
When Goodell explained why he would consider a change to lessen his own power, he called the process of ruling on disciplinary issues "extremely time-consuming," and said he wants to be able to focus on the league's bigger issues.
Goodell has come under fire multiple times in the past few years for his handling of off-the-field issues, including his suspensions of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Tom Brady. Brady's four-game suspension for his role in the so-called "Deflategate" scandal was later overturned by a judge.
The NFL's owners meetings are taking place next week in Boca Raton, Fla., and the issue will likely be discussed further at that time.