Roger Goodell

Extra Points: Loya, Goodell, Cook

Texans minority owner Javier Loya has had his tenure with the organization put on hold in the wake of multiple sex crime charges being brought against him. Loya is facing one rape charge, along with five first-degree and one third-degree sexual abuse charge, as detailed by KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson.

The charges stem from incidents in May of 2022 in Kentucky. Loya, who is due to take part in a pretrial conference on August 22, has agreed to withdraw from all Texans activities until his case has been resolved. The NFL also confirmed in a statement that Loya has been removed from all league committees.

“Mr. Loya is innocent and has pled not guilty to all charges,” a statement from attorney Andrew Sarne reads. “He unequivocally and categorically denies these allegations and will vigorously defend his innocence. Mr. Loya has voluntarily taken and 100% passed a polygraph test which confirms his innocence and looks forward to being vindicated in court.”

Loya, 53, has been a limited partner with the Texans since their inaugural season in 2022. He faced a civil suit alleging sexual misconduct earlier this year, but it was withdrawn. If Loya is convicted on the rape charge, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

Here are some other notes from around the NFL:

  • News of another contract extension for commissioner Roger Goodell first came out in March. That new deal, which will be three years in length and keep him in place through 2027, has been considered a certainty to be finalized throughout the offseason. A firm timeline for ratification has emerged; Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports (via Twitter) that owners are aiming to agree to the extension during the October league meetings in New York. Goodell has been at the helm of the NFL since 2006, and it is expected that the 64-year-old’s next deal will be his last.
  • Dalvin Cook has generated plenty of headlines this offseason with his high-profile free agency, but his legal situation has also seen recent developments. The 28-year-old was cleared to proceed with a defamation counterclaim in court stemming from the ongoing allegation of assault, battery and false imprisonment made by Gracelyn Trimble. In an update on the situation, Rochelle Olson of the Minneapolis Star Tribune notes that the latter was offered a $1MM payout by Cook. The offer included the condition that Trimble send a letter to the NFL “absolving Cook of wrongdoing.” Trimble has already testified to the contrary, and court filings detailing the attempt to put the case (which began in November 2021) to rest via a settlement could strengthen her argument. Cook remains unsigned.
  • The NFL has updated its personal conduct policy in a way which gives the league wider authority with respect to issuing punishments in a number of situations. That includes adding sexual assault to the list of offenses which can receive heavy suspensions, as noted by the New York Times’ Jenny Vrentas. The alterations come in the wake of Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson receiving what was initially a six-game ban for sexual misconduct alleged by more than two dozen women. The suspension (which was ultimately upped to 11 games) was limited in part by the wording of the league’s previous policy and the precedents set by other violations. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk adds, meanwhile, that the new policy also gives the NFL the power to hand down discipline to players for violations which occurred before they entered the league. Incidents dating back to college, for example, will now fall under the scope of the league when investigations take place.

Saints RB Alvin Kamara Plans To Meet With Roger Goodell

Saints running back Alvin Kamara recently resolved his criminal and civil cases stemming from his involvement in the assault of a man in a Las Vegas nightclub in February 2022. As PFR’s Sam Robinson observed when the resolution was reported, it is now much likelier that the league will hit Kamara with a suspension before the 2023 campaign gets underway. Before that happens, however, Kamara plans to have an in-person meeting with league commissioner Roger Goodell to tell his side of the story, as Jeff Duncan of reports.

Per Duncan, the Saints encouraged Kamara to set up the meeting in an attempt to reduce the size of his suspension, which could be up to six games. It is unclear when the meeting will take place, but it seems that Kamara and Goodell will get together in the next couple of days. Kamara has told reporters that he plans to meet with the media on Wednesday, August 2, saying, “I’ll talk to you all on August 2 after I talk to [Goodell].”

The Las Vegas incident represents the first off-field transgression in Kamara’s seven-year career, as Duncan observes. Nonetheless, it is a serious one, and GM Mickey Loomis has said that the league has not provided any timeline for its decision.

Kamara’s legal matter encountered frequent delays, leaving him free to play throughout the 2022 season. The Saints were less prepared for a Kamara ban last year, but the team has made preparations this offseason. New Orleans agreed to terms on a three-year, $12MM deal with former Packer and Lion Jamaal Williams — last season’s rushing touchdowns leader — and used a third-round pick on TCU back Kendre Miller.

Nonetheless, Kamara should remain the Saints’ top back whenever he is eligible to play, and he will continue to be a focal point of the club’s offense. He is coming off something of a down year, having scored just four total TDs in 2022, but he still posted nearly 1,400 all-purpose yards on 280 touches. While he is techincially under club control through 2025 on his $15MM/year contract, it seems unlikely he will make it to that season without being released or having his contract restructured (his base salary balloons to over $22MM in 2025). If Kamara should turn in a disappointing year in 2023, New Orleans could save some cap space by designating him a post-June 1 cut next year, though the team would also be saddled with a fair amount of dead money in that scenario.

The NFL has declined to comment on the Kamara-Goodell summit.

Roger Goodell Addresses Potential Sovereign Investment In NFL Teams

The NFL witnessed its most recent franchise sale earlier this week, and the league remains in a position where (with the exception of the Packers) only private individuals are allowed to hold a stake in its teams. Commissioner Roger Goodell was recently asked about the possibility of that model changing.

Sovereign investment in North American and European sports franchises has become in increasingly common in recent years, with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) representing one of many examples of the power of foreign money. The proposed merger involving the rival PGA and LIV golf tours is one instance of the PIF’s expanding reach, something which prompted a question to Goodell about the NFL’s stance on the matter.

“We haven’t made the move as other leagues have to any kind of public investment,” Goodell said during an appearance on CNBC (via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post, on Twitter). “It’s something we’ll contemplate at some point in time, but we really like our basic model now where we have private ownership. Those owners are in the meeting room, they’re part of the league and they’re part of our success.”

The level of interest shown in football by the PIF or similar entities remains unclear at this point, so the NFL has little urgency to explore foreign investment for the time being. Developments in that regard could be worth watching closely in other North American pro leagues, however, given the fact that many NFL owners also have a controlling stake in other franchises.

The exploding value of NFL teams has been a notable trend recently, and finances were a potential issue raised with the $6.05 billion purchase of the Commanders from the group led by Josh Harris. He assembled 20 minority partners to help fund the deal, but all majority owners are required to provide 30% of the sales price up front upon purchase. With the cost of doing so set to continue increasing considerably, the idea of foreign investors joining the league could remain a talking point for the foreseeable future, though Goodell’s remarks point to an acceptance of that being unlikely to take place soon.

No Decision Imminent On Roger Goodell Extension, Tom Brady Raiders Ownership Endeavor

July 20 will be a highly important date on the 2023 offseason calendar, with a ratification vote on the sale of the Commanders set to take place. That summit will not include serious discussions of a few other key league matters.

Owners are not expected to arrive at a final resolution on the topics of commissioner Roger Goodell‘s extension or Tom Brady‘s attempt to become a minority owner of the Raiders during the upcoming special league meeting, per Mark Maske of the Washington Post (Twitter link). Neither of those agenda items have as much urgency as the expected transfer of Commanders ownership to Josh Harris, a process which may have encountered a last-minute roadblock.

News of another new deal for Goodell first came out in March, and it has since been confirmed that it will be finalized at some point this offseason. The deal will keep Goodell under contract through 2027, and bring his tenure past the two-decade mark. The 64-year-old is also expected to begin identifying his successor, one who will no doubt be tasked with continuing Goodell’s efforts in growing the league’s revenues to an unprecedented degree. Maintaining the status quo for the intermediate future represents an obvious priority for the NFL’s owners.

Brady is aiming to join that group by creating a new partnership with Raiders owner Mark Davis. The pair already have a working relationship given their shared stake in the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, which has led to speculation Brady could join the Raiders in a playing capacity. Instead, the seven-time Super Bowl winner is eyeing a hands-off role in the front office, something which will require specific approval from the league’s other owners. As is the case on the Goodell front, though, plenty of time remains for Brady’s Raiders agreement to receive the green light.

The Commanders sale – which the NFL scheduled for late July, rather than early August, demonstrating the optimism surrounding the prospect of a ‘yes’ vote – will of course be a milestone event in the franchise’s history and a major checkpoint on the league’s summer docket. Informal conversations related to the Goodell and Brady situations could certainly take place in Minneapolis, but more serious consideration will come down the road.

Dan Snyder Indemnification Issue Poses Threat To Commanders Sale

Last week, all parties appeared to be in the clear regarding the sale of the Commanders being approved without issue. That may still ultimately be the case, but a new development could threaten the sale being ratified as scheduled.

Mark Maske and Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post report that issues related to negotiations between outgoing owner Dan Snyder‘s legal representation and the NFL could “complicate the approval and closing” of the sale. Specifically, the matter of indemnification represents a possible roadblock late in the sales process, though it is unknown at this point whether it will be sufficient to delay the owners’ ratification vote.

The issues are believed to be at least partially related to Snyder’s alleged involvement in the events which led to Jon Gruden‘s resignation and subsequent lawsuit. A report from yesterday on the matter provided further details on the Raiders’ handling of their then-head coach, and the accusation that Snyder leaked the emails which resulted in Gruden’s departure during an investigation into the Commanders. Gruden has vowed to continue his ongoing lawsuit against the NFL, so it would come as little surprise if Snyder were to use the coming days to acquire further legal protection related to the suit.

Snyder is not thought to be seeking indemnification for himself or the Commanders regarding the ongoing investigation into himself and the franchise. However, his willingness to provide legal protection to the league’s other owners and, perhaps most importantly, commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL attorney Jeff Pash with respect to the ongoing Gruden situation is in question. The Post reports that Snyder is not prepared to sign an affidavit stating he did not leak the emails which cost Gruden his job, something he previously was willing to do. The team’s position denies that, noting that he has already testified he is not responsible for the leaks.

Another factor which could complicate matters is Snyder’s sister Michele, a part-owner of the Commanders. She is reportedly unwilling to indemnify the league and other owners as they pertain to the Gruden case, something which is likely to be one of the terms of the franchise’s sale agreement. All Commanders owners must fully agree to all provisions of the agreement, which is set to see Josh Harris purchase the team for $6.05 billion.

One of the Post’s sources describes this latest development as “signficant,” though some time does still remain to resolve the complications before the ratification vote, which is scheduled for July 20. It will be worth watching if this emerges as a last-minute hurdle to be cleared, or a wider issue threatening what has long been expected to be a unanimous approval of the sale.

Jon Gruden Does Not Intend To Settle Suit; Latest On Dan Snyder’s Role In Scandal

Jon Gruden has resurfaced on the NFL radar, seeing the Saints bring him in as a consultant earlier this offseason. Gruden spent time working with Derek Carr, with the Saints wanting to install some of Gruden’s concepts in their Carr-led offense. Carson Wentz is also receiving Gruden pointers while training as a free agent this offseason.

But the veteran NFL coach is unlikely to land another top job in the league given the way his most recent HC stint ended. More details surrounding Gruden’s Raiders exit have come to light, via’s Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham, who report the team was initially aiming to retain the embattled coach before the second batch of problematic emails dropped on October 11, 2021.

Communication between Gruden, an ESPN employee when he wrote these seminal emails, and then-Washington president Bruce Allen included crude remarks about Roger Goodell, gay NFL players, female referees and Washington cheerleaders. The first email — made public Oct. 8, 2021 as a result of the NFL’s Dan Snyder investigation — included Gruden using a racist trope to describe NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. In between that email becoming public and the wave of New York Times-uncovered emails three days later, Mark Davis planned to stick with Gruden. Before the second wave of emails emerged, Davis discussed Gruden’s status with current and former Raiders, per Wickersham and Van Natta, who report some wanted the embattled HC gone while others did not.

In between the Wall Street Journal report and the New York Times follow-up that ended up sealing Gruden’s fate, Davis and then-Raiders president Dan Ventrelle spoke with Roger Goodell and lead NFL counsel Jeff Pash. The two NFL bigwigs applied pressure on Davis to act, according to ESPN, with Goodell indicating more emails were coming. While Gruden coached the Raiders’ Week 5 game — a loss to the Bears — he submitted a forced resignation the next day. A month later, Gruden sued Goodell and the NFL.

Thus far on Gruden’s legal journey, he has enjoyed success. Gruden does not intend to settle this suit, according to ESPN, for any amount and aims to “burn the house down” to expose the league for an alleged conspiracy to remove him as Raiders HC. After Davis was nudged to remove Gruden as HC, the Raiders owner blasted the league and Snyder in a conversation with the recently dismissed coach.

The Gruden matter coming out of the NFL’s Snyder investigation helped induce the House Oversight Committee to launch its investigation into the Washington owner. The Congressional probe included Lisa Friel, the NFL’s special counsel for investigations, indicating the leak came from the Commanders and not the league. Denials from every accused party — except for Smith, whom ESPN asserts bragged about leaking the email that included Gruden’s racist trope to describe him — have followed. Gruden has long believed Goodell was responsible for the leak.

Snyder is accused here of leaking the emails to curry favor with the commissioner and to deflect from his scandals. The longtime Washington owner, however, is believed to have attended each of his team’s games during his suspension. Snyder’s July 2021 de facto ban was supposed to last “several months,” but he believed the punishment was to last only a month. With Snyder already receiving what most perceived as a light penalty (the $10MM fine, the short ban and the Beth Wilkinson investigation not producing a report), some owners believe he would not have been effectively forced to sell his franchise had he complied with the terms of the 2021 suspension.

Months later, an ESPN report that contended Snyder had gathered dirt on Goodell and a number of owners accelerated the push for a sale. Snyder and Philadelphia 76ers/New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris have agreed on a sale, and a ratification vote is scheduled for July 20. Snyder, who remains the subject of a second NFL investigation, has owned the NFC East franchise since 1999.

NFL Urged To Release Mary Jo White’s Commanders Report

The NFL is inching closer and closer to the conclusion of its relationship with Commanders owner Dan Snyder. A special league meeting has been set for July 20, in which the team owners are expected to vote to ratify the sale of the franchise to Josh Harris for $6.05 billion. That’s only one part of the league’s situation with Snyder. The other part entails their investigations into allegations against the soon-to-be former owner of sexual misconduct and financial malfeasance. According to Mark Maske of The Washington Post, the NFL has been urged by the House Committee to release a report on the investigation upon its completion.

To be clear, this is the second investigation into the allegations against Snyder. The first investigation, conducted by attorney Beth Wilkinson, was conducted back in 2021. The findings of the investigation were not released by the NFL, but it did result in a fine to the team of $10MM and the forced assumption of day-to-day operating duties by Snyder’s wife, Tanya. The findings were concealed due to promises of confidentiality made to witnesses.

The Oversight Committee released a 79-page report on the Wilkinson investigation in December claiming that Snyder “obstructed” the committee’s investigation and failed to provide full and complete testimony, as his attorney had pledged he would. The report also claimed that the NFL failed “to address Mr. Snyder’s interferences” and that the league played a role in concealing the team’s toxic work environment.

This second investigation was conducted by attorney Mary Jo White, a former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The investigation has not yet concluded, but already, the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability has urged the league to release the findings of the report upon its completion. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had pledged before to release the report in “full transparency,” so the letter from representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the Committee, was a call to abide by Goodell’s pledge when the opportunity comes.

“More than a year has passed since your pledge to ‘share the results of that investigation,’ yet, to date, no part of the information has been released to the public,” Raskin wrote. “In light of the impending sale of the Commanders franchise, I urge you to honor your commitment to release the report in its entirety and ‘take additional disciplinary action if warranted.'”

We’ve seen in previous reports that Snyder is opposed to the pledge by Goodell. It’s been reported that Snyder had called to keep the findings confidential in February and was lobbying the league to limit the release in May, though the Commanders denied both reports. Despite Snyder’s continued efforts to cover up the findings of White’s report, it’s not believed that the issue should hold up the sale of the franchise at all.

It’s unclear, as of yet, exactly when the report will be concluded. Snyder has refused to be interviewed by White for the investigation to date, but some believe that White will request his participation at least one more time before concluding her investigation. It will be interesting to see just how much, if anything, is released by the league upon the report’s conclusion and if any action will be taken due to the results.

Date Set For Vote On Commanders Sale Ratification

Not long after a pair of dates were provided to NFL owners as possible days on which a special league meeting could take place to ratify the sale of the Commanders, one has been agreed upon. The final step in the sales process now appears to be in place.

A league meeting has been scheduled for July 20, as detailed by Mark Maske and Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. That represents the earlier of the two possible dates floated last week (August 8 being the other), and could allow the sale to be approved in time for the opening of training camps around the league. The Commanders’ camp opens on July 26.

It is expected the league’s finance committee will provide a unanimous recommendation to approve the sale, the Post report adds. The committee met at length with prospective owner Josh Harris and investment group member Mitchell Rales earlier this month to discuss the outstanding issues with the proposed purchase agreement. The number of investors and an ability to remain under the league’s debt ceiling have been causes for concern during the vetting process, but the scheduling of the ratification vote suggests they will have been smoothed out by next month.

Harris and current owner Dan Snyder reached an exclusive agreement on a sale in May. The $6.05 billion price tag will comfortably surpass that of Rob Walton‘s Broncos purchase last summer and thus set a new North American sports record for franchise sales. It will also represent an end to Snyder’s much-maligned tenure at the helm of the Commanders, one which has been marked by a number of investigations into toxic work environments and financial improprieties.

A probe led by NFL investigator Mary Jo White into Snyder and the Commanders remains ongoing, but it could conclude in time for the ratification vote. The findings of that investigation are set to be made public, and the Post notes that they could result in commissioner Roger Goodell imposing a fine on the team. Issues of indemnity regarding Snyder and the other owners have been a sticking point over several months, but the eagerness to remove the former from the league has long been a driving force during the sales process.

At least 24 votes will be required to approve the sale to Harris’ ownership group, something which has not been in doubt since he and Snyder first entered into a purchase agreement. With the finance committee set to compete its vetting process and present a ‘yes’ recommendation to the full slate of owners in the coming weeks, the finish line in this process is firmly in sight.

Roger Goodell Expects Commanders Sale Ratification

With the latest round of league meetings having come and gone, the sale of the Commanders remains an ongoing process. The agreement which would see Josh Harris become the team’s majority owner is the subject of review from the league and could see adjustments made in the coming weeks, but optimism is in place regarding the chances of the deal going through.

Commissioner Roger Goodell is striking a similar tone on the subject. His comments regarding the sale point to a ratification vote taking place at some point, though no timetable is in place for that to happen. At least 24 owners would need to approve the deal, something which is not expected to be in doubt if the finances of the Harris purchase can be worked out.

“I think we’ll get it to a place where it will be approved,” Goodell said, via Mark Maske and Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post“The [finance] committee really just had their first meeting [Monday] on the matter. We really got the documents last week. So we’re hard at work as a staff looking at that, as we do every transaction. There’s a lot of due diligence as well as compliance issues. All of that’s happening and working full speed… And we’ll have a meeting at the appropriate time.”

The desire on the part of other owners to use the sale as a means of ousting Dan Snyder is well known. The latter has become embroiled in a number of scandals and investigations during his 24-year tenure at the helm of the franchise. Those issues have led to indemnification becoming a key talking point in this process, with owners attempting to not only prevent Snyder from receiving legal protection, but also ensure that they are covered against any potential future action by Snyder.

The latter is “eager ” to finalize the sale, per the Post’s report. It adds that the NFL has been in discussions with Snyder’s representatives, and that talks on the issue of indemnification are now “95%” complete. That development is particularly important with respect to the ongoing Mary Jo White investigation into the Commanders. The results of that probe, Goodell has maintained throughout its process, will be made public regardless of if it is finished before or after the sale goes through.

“When she’s concluded the investigation, she’ll let me know,” Goodell said of White. “We have pledged to make sure we tell our ownership. And we’ve pledged to make sure that the findings are made public. So we will do that.”

On the financial side, concerns have been raised about the Harris deal’s number of partners and its breaching of the NFL’s $1.1 billion debt limit for franchise sales. Detailing the matter further, Forbes’ Mike Ozanian reports that $1 billion of the Harris bid comes in the form of unsecured debt. The matter of whether that amount is considered equity (which is strictly prohibited under NFL rules) as opposed to capital could represent a major hurdle. In addition, more than the maximum 24 limited partners could be counted as being involved in the Harris group if the investors in their respective organizations are taken into account, per Ozanian.

The likeliest outcome of this process seems to remain a ratification vote taking place in the summer, but a number of issues are yet to be resolved. Presuming a sale does indeed go through, however, all parties involved will have achieved a significant shared objective.

Roger Goodell’s Extension To Be Finalized

Another Roger Goodell extension — a topic broached in March — is on the cusp of completion. The longtime NFL commissioner is set to receive a new deal that runs through the 2027 season, Jeremy Fowler and John Keim of report.

Jim Irsay confirmed the extension is coming, though Goodell said he does not have a new deal yet. This extension will position Goodell to push his commissioner tenure past the 20-year mark. Goodell took over for Paul Tagliabue ahead of the 2006 season. It likely will be a matter of weeks until Goodell is officially re-upped, Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets.

It’s just dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, but it’s done,” Irsay said. “We still have to rubber stamp it so to speak, but it’s virtually done. He’s done so much for the league with stability. … It’s a tough job, but he’s been a hard worker and worked very hard for the NFL and its success.

Goodell’s current contract was set to expire after the 2023 season, with that deal being signed in 2017. After another round of monster TV agreements came to pass, the 18th-year commissioner will sign up for another go-round overseeing the country’s most popular sports league. While Goodell has taken plenty of heat — largely for his handling of disciplinary matters — the NFL has maintained its steady growth under his watch. It is logical the owners see no reason to rock the boat now.

Goodell passed Bert Bell (1946-59) for commissioner longevity during his most recent contract and will move past Tagliabue (1989-2006) this coming season. It seems unlikely Goodell, 64, will catch Pete Rozelle (1960-89) for time in the commissioner’s chair. But he will be poised to become the second 20-plus-year commissioner in NFL history.

Over the course of this new deal, Goodell appears prepared to groom a potential successor. Irsay said Goodell will have the opportunity to help the owners form a candidate list and have input as to whom the league should choose. Goodell also said splitting the commissioner role into two parts, one a CEO-type role and the other dealing more closely with the on-field component, has emerged as a talking point among owners and NFL officials.

It’s a healthy discussion to have. The job changes over the years,” Goodell said. “It’s changed ever since I’ve been the commissioner. I know we will have the discussions at the appropriate time.

The NFL is early in its third Goodell-era collective bargaining agreement. This CBA, agreed to in 2020, runs through 2030. The COVID-19 pandemic hit just before the players narrowly ratified the deal. The NFL had the advantage of seeing the pandemic hit during its offseason, as it paused the 2019-20 NBA season and led to Major League Baseball losing four months of its 2020 campaign. The fan-less or fan-limited (depending on the city) season led to the NFL seeing its second-ever salary cap reduction (in 2021), but the league’s salary ceiling is back on track. The cap spiked from $182.5MM to $208.2MM in 2022 and rose to $224.8MM this year. The spikes in each of the past two offseasons double as the biggest and third-largest jumps in the cap’s history.

During Goodell’s current deal, the league also expanded its regular season for the first time since 1978 and added one playoff team per conference. That has led to increased revenue. Although the NFL’s decisions regarding Thursday nights have generated persistent scrutiny, the league has motored along under its highly paid commissioner. While it is not confirmed, this imminent agreement looks like it will be Goodell’s final contract.