Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Claims Significant Changes Since Agreeing To Goodell Extension
Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones is demanding that "all owners" and not just the members of the NFL compensation committee "vote on the pay package" that is part of Commissioner Roger Goodell's pending contract extension, according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. Cowboys General Counsel Jason Cohen sent a letter outlining Jones' stance to the "lawyer representing the committee and to the rest of the league’s owners." The letter, which "repeatedly criticized" Falcons Owner and committee chair Arthur Blank, states that the NFL's fortunes had "significantly changed since May," when the owners voted unanimously to extend Goodell’s contract by five years. Jones, who recently hired attorney David Boies to block Goodell's contract and threatened to sue the league and owners, "did not specify what conditions had changed since May." Through his lawyer, Jones said that he wanted Goodell’s new contract, which would begin in '19, to "include less guaranteed pay and more incentives tied to the league’s financial performance." Jones noted that Goodell had already been paid $200M in the decade since he became commissioner, and that "making a decision" potentially worth more than $200M "should be done carefully." Cohen wrote that Jones "did not want to resort to legal action," but that it "might be necessary to stop the committee’s work" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/10). ESPN.com's Chris Mortensen reported Jones in the letter claims that he "'has discovered a number of very concerning issues' while engaged as a committee member, including that 'the Ownership (sic) and Jerry Jones now understand that they have been unquestionably misled' by Blank and that 'critical facts' have been misrepresented regarding Goodell's contract." The letter alleges that Blank "told owners, including Jones, on numerous occasions that the six-man committee's recommendation would be unanimous." However, sources said that the committee is "not currently unanimous on Goodell's contract, which is in its final stages." Sources said that Jones "repeatedly complained that Goodell retained Blank as compensation committee chairman because of the 'one-sided' contract previously negotiated" (ESPN.com, 11/9).
DEAL COULD BE COMPLETED SOON: NFL Exec VP/Communications Joe Lockhart on Thursday said he expects a contract extension for Goodell should be “wrapped up soon.” He said talks between Goodell and the committee had been productive and amicable, and he added reports were inaccurate that stated Goodell was furious that owners wanted more incentives in his contract (Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer). ESPN's Adam Schefter said Goodell's deal getting done "may be the act that springs Mr. Jones into action, because he has done what he can to fight this extension ... in any way, shape and form." Meanwhile, people around the league are wondering, "What is the end game here? What can he do? What can he sue for?” Schefter said, “I don't know that there are any answers to this. All we know is that Jerry Jones has tried to rally support to do what he can to impede this. He has continued to do this throughout the course of the season, and we'll see where it ends up" (“NFL Live,” ESPN, 11/9).
Goodell's standing among owners could be
permanently hurt after fight with Jones
KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES: THE ATHLETIC's Don Banks wrote by making it a potential legal fight, Jones has "induced many of his fellow owners to take the stance that acquiescing to his demands would be acknowledging that he runs the league and they simply follow his lead." That is "not a perception anyone seems eager to accentuate." A source said, "You can go too far with your fellow owners and it turns them off. This (threatened) lawsuit has had the opposite effect of what Jones wants. I think the owners now rally around the commissioner and they will get him the new deal." Banks noted the "ugly fissure between Jones and Goodell has laid bare another high-profile problem in an NFL season" (THEATHLETIC.com, 11/9). ESPN's Israel Gutierrez notes some NFL owners believe if Jones is "given the power to get Roger out," he will install his "own replacement, and he's going to be way too powerful in this league" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 11/9). But in DC, Sally Jenkins writes Jones' fellow NFL owners "respect him on matters of business," so if he tells them Goodell "must go and the league needs a new commissioner, they at least will listen." Jenkins: "If I’m an NFL owner, I know whom I ultimately side with in a choice between Jones and Goodell. I side with the owner who has multiplied my revenues exponentially with his vision and willingness to upset the cart when no one else had the nerve to, as opposed to the commissioner who has mangled every serious matter he has touched." Jones really has "built and driven the modern NFL’s business, and if he has decided Goodell is a liability, then Goodell is in trouble" (WASHINGTON POST, 11/10).
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