It seems like the new Roger Goodell contract was all but done. Before ink hit paper, however, the NFL commissioner’s relationship with Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones soured, and talks revolving around the commissioner’s new deal have stalled. The NFL Compensation Committee held a conference call to discuss Goodell’s new contract and also took the opportunity to tell Jones to stop obstructing the deal.
Jerry Jones thinks of himself as the NFL’s most powerful owner. (And has shown as much on several occasions.) But he’s never really publicly faced opposition from so many of his fellow owners.
If Jones’ opposition wanted to take action (by way of a fine, suspension, or even more drastic steps), things could get messy. It’s obvious Goodell and Jones aren’t on the best of terms, but it would have to be Goodell, himself, that would initiate repercussions for Jones’ actions. That would not necessarily have to come after a majority of league owners signed off on actions against the Cowboys owner, but it would be highly unlikely Goodell would take any action without hearing from all the NFL owners.
Of course, the elephant in the room is that Jones is also at odds with Roger Goodell over the suspension of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Though Jones denies it playing a part in his opposition of a new Roger Goodell contract, it seems odd that Jones was so publicly in favor of Goodell’s penalty enforcement power during Deflategate, but now fighting it when a Dallas player is on the receiving end of Goodell’s judgment.
That coincidence hasn’t been lost on the owners of the compensation committee.
According to Ken Belson of the New York Times:
“[T]he five-year extension for the commissioner, which has been in the works for months and is nearly complete, has annoyed a growing number of owners, who are angry that Jones has tried to hold Goodell’s compensation hostage as a way to punish the commissioner for his decision to suspend Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.”
Unless Jones has a change of heart, the Roger Goodell contract is now in murky territory. In a now-all-too-familiar plot twist, the situation appears headed to the courtroom, as lawsuits are expected to be filed in the near future.