Goodell Sticking Around, Signs Extension

  • FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2017, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell poses for a picture at the opening of "NFL Experience" in Times Square, New York. Goodell has signed a five-year contract extension to keep him as commissioner of the NFL through 2024. A memo from the NFL's compensation committee to team owners and obtained by The Associated Press confirms that Goodell and committee chairman Arthur Blank, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, have signed the extension. Goodell took over for Paul Tagliabue in 2006. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

The Washington Post
Wednesday, December 06, 2017

NFL owners have completed an agreement with Commissioner Roger Goodell on a five-year contract extension. According to a memo sent on Wednesday by owners on the league’s compensation committee, which negotiated the deal, the contract is done and signed.

The deal runs through 2024, with Goodell’s compensation expected to top out at a maximum of nearly $40 million per season, though close to 90 percent of that pay would be tied to incentives.

The agreement is between Goodell and owners on the compensation committee, led by the Atlanta Falcons’ Arthur Blank. The compensation committee informed the other owners via a memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.

It is not clear whether the deal will run into further opposition from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who threatened at one point to sue over Goodell’s extension but since has rescinded that threat.

Owners are scheduled to meet Dec. 12-13 in Dallas. Jones sought increased input by owners not on the compensation committee into Goodell’s contract, and a final ratification vote by all owners once the deal was completed.

The league has maintained that there will not be another vote of the owners. The owners voted, 32-0, at their May meeting in Chicago to authorize the compensation committee to negotiate the new deal with Goodell.

Jones served for a period of time as a non-voting member of the compensation committee. But that arrangement ended after he informed other committee members that he’d hired attorney David Boies and was prepared to file a lawsuit opposing Goodell’s extension.

That began a tense standoff between Jones and other owners. There was a flurry of threats, accusations and letters sent back and forth. Jones accused Blank of misleading owners about the negotiations. He contended that such a significant investment in the commissioner was not justified at a time when the league was facing financial hardships.

Jones subsequently indicated he would not sue, saying he’d been satisfied that other owners would have increased input into the process. The league said there had been no agreement with Jones for the threat of a lawsuit to be dropped in exchange for a final ratification vote by all owners.

Goodell’s extension would keep him in place through the league’s negotiations for its next collective bargaining agreement with the players union and its next set of television contracts. Owners locked out the players prior to the last labor deal being struck in 2011.

TV ratings for NFL games have sagged over the past two seasons, and this season the league and Goodell have faced intense criticism by President Donald Trump and some fans about players’ protests during the national anthem. Owners declined to enact a rule when they met in October requiring players to stand for the anthem. They said they instead were focused on discussions with the players about league support of players’ community activism.

Those discussions culminated with an agreement on a social-justice initiative by which the league and owners would contribute about $90 million between the onset of the deal and 2023 to social causes considered important to players, particularly in African-American communities.

Both sides have said the agreement does not require players to stand for the anthem.