The global settlement would fund medical exams, concussion-related compensation and medical research.
The plaintiffs include at least 10 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including former Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett. They also include Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.
The lawsuits accuse the league of hiding known risks of concussions for decades to return players to games and protect its image. The NFL has denied any wrongdoing.
Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia announced the proposed settlement Thursday. She still needs to approve the deal, which comes after months of court-ordered mediation.