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Volume 25 No. 27
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Goodell Signs Five-Year, $200M Extension, With Salary Tied To Hitting NFL's Financial Targets

The NFL yesterday extended the contract of Commissioner Roger Goodell for "another five years, ending an unusually rancorous monthslong standoff" with Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, who "wanted to derail the deal," according to Ken Belson of the N.Y. TIMES. The NFL compensation committee "signed off on a contract" worth roughly $200M over five years, which is "in line with his current deal." But unlike Goodell's current arrangement, nearly 90% of the "potential compensation will be paid only if a variety of financial targets are met." The league still has $14B in annual revenue, a "big reason the owners are comfortable keeping Goodell" for another five years. But with "anxiety over the league's weaknesses growing, Jones and other owners wanted to ensure Goodell continued to focus on growing the league's business." As a result, they have "insisted that most of his compensation in the coming years be based on the NFL hitting financial targets." Goodell's "guaranteed salary before those potential bonuses" will be about $4M a year. Contrary to Jones' efforts to undermine the deal, Falcons Owner and Compensation Committee Chair Arthur Blank said that there was "nearly a consensus to offer Goodell an extension and to move quickly 'to avoid further controversy surrounding this issue.'" The committee had been "working since May on the new contract, which would take effect" in March '19 (N.Y. TIMES, 12/7). In DC, Mark Maske notes Goodell's extension would "keep him in place through the league's negotiations" for its next CBA with the NFLPA and its "next set of television contracts" (WASHINGTON POST, 12/7).

SIGH OF RELIEF: Blank said that he and Goodell yesterday "each signed the deal ... after a final snag" -- which Blank would not disclose -- "was overcome" on Tuesday night. Blank: "I'm happy that it's over. ... In the history of the NFL, I'm not sure a big decision has been so transparent as this one. We got a lot of input from a lot of owners, a lot of guidance from them, and we feel very good about what developed out of that." Blank said that he spoke with Jones twice in the "past few days, including Tuesday night." Blank said Jones "understands the contract and how we got here." THE MMQB's Peter King noted there is a league meeting in Dallas next week, and Jones could use that to "smooth over some of the rough feelings left by him going rogue in these negotiations and making some sensitive internal committee details public." The deal "got done in the last six days." Each of the six members of the Compensation Committee "divided up the owners," and Blank "took Jones" (SI.com, 12/6). Blank said that the owners will have a "more direct line to Goodell going forward, including a session with the commissioner at future owners meetings" (ESPN.com, 12/6). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Andrew Beaton writes although finally inking the Goodell extension "brings finality to this central topic of animosity, the fallout from the tensions it created could still play out in the weeks and months to come" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/7). In Boston, Ben Volin writes Jones "surely will voice any lingering concerns" at the Dec. 13 meeting (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/7).

PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS: A panel of ESPN NFL insiders weighed in on what Goodell's No. 1 priority should be after signing his new extension. Dan Graziano wrote it is to find "some common ground with the NFLPA on negotiations" for the next CBA. Mina Kimes: "Player safety." Mike Sando: "Be more proactive and less reactive." Aaron Schatz: "Creating a clear standard for player punishment." Kevin Seifert: "Brain health." Seth Wickersham: "A rebuilding of the league's executive staff." Field Yates: "The health and safety of players" (ESPN.com, 12/6).

MOVING ON: FS1's Jason Whitlock said the deal gives the NFL and "all of us that love football a chance to move forward and start talking about solutions rather than acrimony." FS1's Colin Cowherd added, "Outside of Google, Apple, Facebook, what other business is thriving like (the NFL?). ... There's this narrative that's anti-football. If you cut the ratings in half, it still doubles the NBA." The extension "closes some of the chaos we felt optically for the last month" ("Speak For Yourself," FS1, 12/6). ESPN's L.Z. Granderson said of Goodell, "I don't know what he's doing day-to-day but what I do know is businesses are not successful running on their own. Businesses are only successful when someone is proactive with a long-term goal and plan." But ESPN's Amin Elhassan said to look at "how many scandals" the league has had recently. Elhassan: "I've never heard anyone say, 'The commissioner handled that one well.' ... When's the last time you said Roger Goodell did a good job?" ("Sportsnation," ESPN, 12/6). NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said the deal means one of the "bigger looming issues in the NFL" is "off the table now." The environment in the NFL is "among the strongest and most unified that the owners have ever been" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 12/6).

SOCIAL MEDIA BACKLASH: The extension was widely panned on Twitter. ESPN's Damien Woody: "Does the NFL negotiate against itself w/ these Goodell deals?!" Octagon Hockey's Allan Walsh: "Goodell agrees to a 5 year, $200 Million contract extension while retired NFL players are still waiting on settlement funds from concussion litigation. #NoShame." Browns OT Joe Thomas: "Tom Brady makes $20.5mm per year; @nflcommish makes $40mm per year. So does that mean that Roger Goodell is twice as valuable to the NFL and twice as hard to replace?" Yahoo Sports' Chris Mannix: "If Roger Goodell is worth $200 million to the NFL, what is Adam Silver--who has guided rapid global growth, deftly handled CBA talks while earning the universal respect of the players--worth to the NBA?" Fox Sports Radio's Jason Smith: "There's no bigger 'out-of-touch' group than NFL owners. They see $$$ signs but are obtuse as to how to keep growing NFL. The last 5 years for the league have been awful. But they extend Roger Goodell, who's been at the helm for all of it."