Via a Sunday morning report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter, Jones has “slowed down, if not impeded” the contract extension for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
And Jones isn’t even an official member of the six-man compensation committee, which determines Goodell’s salary package.
“If not for Jerry,” one person familiar with the contract negotiations told ESPN, “this deal would be done.”
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Goodell’s current contract as commissioner expires in 2019, and according to ESPN, it was expected that the extension would have been in place before the season kicked off last week. But now that Jones has made himself the seventh member of the compensation committee, it’s unclear if or when a deal will be done.
There is a conference call scheduled for Wednesday for compensation committee members, and ESPN sources said that call is expected to produce a specific term proposal for Goodell; Jones will be on the call.
The ESPN report said it’s a “source of contention” whether Goodell will receive a firm proposal after the conference call. Some owners believe the contract extension is imminent, another ESPN source said, “there’s no way that happens right now.”
Though in the past Jones has denied that he’s part of the compensation committee, ESPN league sources said Goodell was informed that Jones would take part in the contract extension process around the same time Goodell was deciding whether or not to suspend Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott for violation of the league’s personal-conduct policy, stemming from incidents in 2016.
The six official members of the compensation committee are chairman Arthur Blank of the Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, New York Giants co-owner John Mara, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair and Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II. Jones reportedly sees himself as representing the other 26 owners not on the committee.
ESPN sources said McNair believes there should be a significant restructuring of Goodell’s contract.
Jones is arguing much the same; one source told ESPN he has argued for months that other owners believe Goodell makes “way too much money” and wants to see both a pay cut for Goodell and change to the formula that determines the commissioner’s compensation.
In his 11 years as commissioner, Goodell has made over $200 million, including a salary of $44 million in 2015.
Jones reportedly believes other members of the league office are also overpaid.
“Jerry’s not saying, ‘Don’t hire Roger.’ He’s saying, ‘I hate this [proposed] deal; redo it,'” one ESPN source said.
One owner who supports Goodell said there is also a question of whether Goodell will accept the terms of a new extension, particularly as it is expected to be performance-based and would include incentives that would enable Goodell to earn close to what he has in the past.
Jones is not pleased with the six-game suspension given to Elliott, and that case is now in the courts. That’s one example of the acrimony between Jones and Goodell, which likely stretches back to 2011, when Goodell punished Dallas and Washington for treating the uncapped 2010 season like an uncapped season.
Update: Prior to Sunday night’s game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers, Falcons owner Arthur Blank denied that Jones is holding up any negotiations. “The speculation is incorrect,” Blank told Peter King. “He is not impeding it. I got a note from him the other day. He’s comfortable with where we are.” The owners involved in determining Goodell’s compensation are scheduled to finalize those discussions on Wednesday.
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