"They want to buy their peace," says Epstein. "The NFL is not going to want to pay out this money and then have to deal with other players out there who are current or former players. We don't know exactly what those final terms will be yet, and what level it will foreclose people down the line from having their own individual suits."

Cases like the one brought by Randle El stand to complicate matters. Similar lawsuits involving ex-players were filed in September in Louisiana and Illinois, and all attorneys interviewed for this story said they expect more in the coming weeks. According to NFL.com, there are approximately 12,000 living former NFL players. Roughly one-third of them are already involved in concussion litigation, making Epstein's scenario of dozens or hundreds of additional lawsuits seem unlikely but within the realm of possibility.

Of course, as Randle El's attorney Abood notes, there's also the chance of backfire if the judge elects to uphold the existing deal. The more people vying for a slice of the $765 million pie, the less there is to go around for everyone else.

Photo Credit: Erik Daniel Drost via Compfight cc

"It's simple arithmetic," Abood says. "The more people you add in, the fewer benefits are available. It appears to be a very good deal for the league."

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