NEW YORK: Roger Goodell has reportedly signed a five-year contract extension to remain the commissioner of the NFL, a deal Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had tried to block.
The New York Times was among the US media outlets reporting the deal on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), citing a memo sent to league owners from the compensation committee chaired by Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.
ESPN, citing an unnamed source, said that Goodell’s five-year-deal, which runs through 2024, is expected to pay him some $40 million a year, although that figure includes incentive bonuses.
Goodell, 58, has made more than $200 million since he first got the job in 2006.
Goodell’s contract had become a contentious issue this season, with Jones threatening to sue the league and some fellow owners if an extension was approved.
Jones said he wanted the league to use the 18 months left on Goodell’s current contract to evaluate his work and consider their options.
“We just need to slow this train down,” said Jones, who has been at odds with Goodell since the commissioner suspended star Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games over a domestic violence accusation that didn’t result in criminal charges.
Other owners reportedly believed Jones was behind comments by Papa John’s chief executive John Schnatter blaming a decline in his pizza company’s revenues on falling NFL television ratings and the league’s handling of national anthem protests by players.
Jones, who owns 120 Papa John’s franchises, threatened to bench any Cowboys player that failed to stand for the anthem, but Goodell refused to demand that players stand.
USA Today reported that the memo sent to team owners said the contract committee “unanimously supports the contract and believes that it is fully consistent with ‘market’ compensation and the financial and other parameters outlined to the owners at our May 2017 meeting, as well as in the best interests of our ownership”.
The memo also expressed the committee’s “strong and unanimous belief that we should proceed to sign the agreement now, consistent with the unanimous May resolution and to avoid further controversy surrounding the issue…
“Accordingly, this will advise the ownership that a binding contract extension has been signed by the commissioner and by Arthur Blank, on behalf of the League entities.”
Goodell has come in for harsh criticism for his handling of some issues — such as the domestic violence case involving ex-NFL rusher Ray Rice and the “Deflate-gate” scandal involving the New England Patriots and their superstar quarterback Tom Brady.
But the league is still a financial powerhouse with a projected $14 billion in revenue this year. That’s a $6 billion increase from 2010, when Goodell said he wanted the league to reach $25 billion in revenue by 2027.
Goodell’s extension would keep him in place through the league’s negotiations for its next collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union as well as its next television contract negotiations.