The last time the NFL went through something similar to what we're going through now was in 1993 but instead of the Brady vs. NFL antitrust lawsuit, it was the Reggie White vs. NFL case. As part of the settlement of that case in 1993, the named plaintiffs were exempt from the franchise tag.
In general, players don't like the franchise tag because they would prefer to get that long-term deal with more guaranteed money.
Apparently, the players are going for something similar this time around. We already heard a Yahoo! Sports report that Patriots G Logan Mankins and Chargers WR Vincent Jackson want to be exempt from the franchise tag and become an unrestricted free agent or receive $10 million as part of the settlement.
Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe reports they're not the only ones looking for something extra as part of the settlement. Bedard reports that Colts QB Peyton Manning and Saints QB Drew Brees also want to be exempt from the franchise tag as part of the settlement.
If this is accurate, it could immediately affect Manning as he's been hit with the franchise tag. Brees' contract expires next season.
Now, it's important to note that the chances of Manning leaving Indy are unlikely at best. The Colts will clearly do anything they can to keep him. But removing the franchise tag and allowing him to enter the open market could provide him some more leverage which would make the Colts prospects of keeping him a little more difficult and a little more expensive.
It's also possible that Manning and Brees simply want to be exempt from the franchise tag moving forward, as NFL Network's Albert Breer notes. This would keep Manning's current tag intact but would prevent the Colts, or any other team, from using it on either player in the future.