Ezekiel Elliott wants to fight for his name.

The NFL wants to ensure the commissioner's disciplinary powers remain strong.

Middle ground has been impossible to find during this protracted saga. But for the first time since both sides dug in for the long haul, a brief window has opened for the principals to seriously explore a compromise.

Sources said the two sides have discussed the possibility of a settlement. This should come as no surprise. There has been dialogue behind the scenes, one source asserts, after each court ruling along the way.

The level of sincerity present in those previous discussions is open to debate.

The NFL was in no mood to deal after arbiter Harold Henderson upheld the commissioner's six-game suspension. Elliott's side wasn't inclined to back down after they won a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction from a court in Sherman.