Those players have appealed the suspensions. And the players' union said Monday it expects to appeal Burbank's decision because it believes salary cap violations are involved in the payment. That would give Burbank the authority to rule on penalizing any players involved.
Burbank did, however, retain temporary jurisdiction on Hargrove's role and asked Goodell for more information on Hargrove's "alleged participation."
Burbank "invited the commissioner to clarify the precise basis for his discipline of Mr. Hargrove who, among other things, was found to have lied to the league's investigators and obstructed their investigation," the NFL said in a statement.
The union filed another grievance with a different arbitrator, Shyam Das, claiming the new CBA prohibits Goodell from punishing players for any conduct before the CBA was signed. The league's investigation showed the bounty program ran from 2009-11.
Das has yet to rule on that grievance, which also seeks to have player appeals heard by Art Shell and Ted Cottrell, who are jointly appointed by the league and union to review discipline handed out for on-field conduct.
The league and union have spent plenty of time before arbitrators and judges this offseason, with two other major cases pending.
Vilma has sued Goodell for defamation in a U.S. District Court in New Orleans and Goodell has been given until July 5 to respond to the action.
The players also have sued the league in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, claiming the owners colluded in the uncapped 2010 season to have a secret salary cap. NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith has said such collusion could have cost players $1 billion in wages.
That lawsuit stems, in part, from the NFL stripping the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys of salary cap room in 2012 and '13. The Redskins had their cap reduced $36 million over the two years and the Cowboys lost $10 million in cap space.
Both teams filed a grievance and lost.