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Volume 22 No. 19
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NFL compensation review

A powerful committee will undergo some major changes when team owners meet this week.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank (left) is the current chair of the compensation committee that gave Roger Goodell a five-year extension last fall.
Photo: Getty Images

NFL owners will vote on a new member of the key compensation committee at their league meetings in New York this week, an unusual internal step that is residue from the nasty battle last fall between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Commissioner Roger Goodell over the latter’s new contract.

 

Owners ultimately sided with Goodell last year, giving him a five-year deal that begins next year and takes him through March 2024. With bonuses, Goodell’s compensation could come to more than $30 million a year.

 

At a meeting earlier this year, however, owners agreed that two members of the compensation committee — Houston Texans owner Bob McNair and Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt — would come off at this week’s meeting. The compensation committee will also be reduced from six members to five. One new member will be voted on. It was not clear why the two owners would come off or the thinking behind reducing the size of the committee, which has changed multiple times over the years.

 

Typically, the commissioner appoints members of committees. In the case of the compensation committee, member selection has been left to the chairman. Currently that is Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank. But in another shift from the norm, the fifth member of the committee will be selected from the ownership at large and then voted on by full ownership. 

 

It’s unclear how the process will work, whether multiple owners will seek to join the committee or whether the vote will be held publicly within the room or in private. Jones was an informal member of the committee last year until he threatened to sue his fellow owners over the commissioner’s new contract.

 

Once the committee has five members, then a new chairman will be elected by those members, although it’s possible owners could vote to keep Blank in the role. Earlier this year the owners decided that the new compensation committee must then elect a chairman, who will serve a two-year term. The committee members must also elect a vice chairman, who would then succeed the chairman for a new two-year term. That will make the compensation committee the only one of 34 committees with a vice chairman (a handful have co-chairmen).

 

The members of the compensation committee currently, without McNair and Hunt, are Blank, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, New York Giants co-owner John Mara and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney. These constitute some of the most influential owners in the league.