At the risk of sounding like a complete homer, I’ll say that the evidence presented by the NFL is shaky at best with plenty of “reconstructed documents” and hear-say from witnesses that have more holes in their credibility and testimony than Swiss cheese.
Goodell was interviewed recently at a youth football game leading up to the Hall of Fame induction and he again pounded the gavel that the NFL stands by this evidence and that the pay for performance the Saints admitted to was actually a bounty because there was intent to injure.
The only problem with that theory is that with “intent” you have to prove it. If you can’t, then it becomes speculation. If that’s the case then that opens up a whole other can of worms.
That’s probably why the deal is being offered to Vilma is because there is a strong possibility in the civil suit that the NFL will be put on public display and further unravel some threads that could shed an even more unflattering light on the investigation and disciplinary process.
On a side note, even if Vilma accepts the deal, he would still have to rehab his injured knee at a private facility until his return. That would be a November 11 home game against the Atlanta Falcons.
In reality the reduced suspension would actually be for nine games since there is also a bye week the Saints will have following an October 7th game against the San Diego Chargers.