Thursday night, Mike Florio reported that there’s a “slight chance” that Gordon and the league settle on a suspension that is less than a full season. Per the terms of the CBA, the arbitration ruling would be a binary proposition at either zero or 16 games. However, a drug settlement with the league is not unprecedented.
This past March, the NFL reinstated former Seahawks defensive back Brandon Browner 2.5 months into a one-year ban. His attorney had been threatening to sue in federal court. Browner settled with the league under the ostensible arrangement that he’d be partially suspended this upcoming season; he signed a three-year deal with the Patriots this offseason.
What would a “fair” settlement for Gordon entail? Somewhere in the 4-8 game range? People would no doubt yell that any discipline he receives is outrageous compared to Ray Rice’s two games for domestic violence, but the substance abuse policy is collectively bargained to have set regulations and is different than the Commissioner’s Personal Conduct Policy which seems to be more or less made up as Roger Goodell goes along.
As non-sensical as the corresponding policies are, anything less than a full season would be a victory for Gordon and the Browns.