Roger Goodell

Jerry Jones Says He Won’t Sue NFL

The idea of a Jerry Jones lawsuit against the NFL became a real possibility recently, but the Cowboys owner has backed off of that stance.

Jones told USA Today’s Jarrett Bell he will not sue the league over Roger Goodell‘s contract. Instead, the Dallas decision-maker wants “accountability,” seeking all 32 owners to approve Goodell’s contract rather than just the six-man compensation committee.

The brash owner also didn’t deny he made the comments attributed to him in the explosive report that emerged late last week. But he denied threatening the commissioner.

As long as those comments are kept in the context of the overall conversation, then I don’t deny that I said that,” Jones said (via Bell). But I deny threatening Roger.”

ESPN.com published a quote from Jones saying he was going to come after Goodell with “everything that I have” in a comment that also included a derogatory remark about Robert Kraft.

As for what’s next with the commissioner, an owner who isn’t on the compensation committee expects Goodell’s contract to now be finalized as soon as next week, Bell reports. A separate owner said Jones’ aggressiveness against the process has actually helped push it closer to completion.

Jones was part of a 32-0 owners’ vote approving the compensation committee to work out a new Goodell deal, but the owner said Tuesday circumstances have changed since he voiced his approval for this measure.

There have been material changes since the resolution,” Jones said, explaining why he reconsidered his position regarding the May approval of Goodell’s extension. “It should go back to the ownership.”

Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported over the weekend some owners wanted sanctions against Jones for his actions in recent months, with another league source adding Goodell’s contract would be completed soon and Jones would be “dealt with.” Maske also reported another ratification from owners on Goodell’s deal won’t be required despite Jones’ wishes.

Jones, however, said he had support from several owners as well regarding his stance. And he doesn’t believe he should be disciplined for his recent actions, per Bell. He also denied recent reports’ assertions this anti-Goodell charge was solely because of the Ezekiel Elliott suspension.

This is not about replacing Roger,” Jones said, via Bell. “It’s a misnomer to say it’s payback for Ezekiel Elliott. It is about the accountability of the commissioner to all of the ownership.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

League Notes: Goodell, Anti-Tampering, Mexico, NFLPA

The issues regarding the current Roger Goodell contract negotiations have been well documented over the past few months. From problems stemming from power over the league to the notable grievances Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has brought up throughout the process, the efforts towards a deal have not been without a lot of public mud throwing. However, a deal is still expected to be reached during or right before the Owners Meeting kick off in Dallas on December 13, according to sources talking to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

Schefter also adds that attempts to delay the contract agreement has dissipated “meaningfully”, according to one league source. There’s always been a belief that ultimately both sides would agree on the terms, it was more of a question of when those final talks would take place. The insider relays that Goodell is expected to be paid up to $40 MM a year from 2019-2023 if all his bonuses come to fruition. This would make the commissioner a whopping $200 MM if these reported numbers are correct. The reported base salary would still be in the single-digit million dollar range, but his extra compensation would push his pay up to those higher-end rates.

It remains to be seen what type of impact this public dispute will have on Goodell’s power in terms of moving forward even after a deal is reached, but that’s probably a separate issue for the commissioner who’s looking to maintain his hold on the league for another five years.

  • Schefter also passed along that the NFL sent out a league-wide email last week reminding teams of new anti-tampering rules in regards to general manager interviews. The new rules allow for less strict guidelines for potential interviews for candidates on opposing teams. Schefter notes that one of the changes allows for teams to interview people even if they have control of their current team’s 53 man roster during the interview process. A anonymous NFL executive told Schefter that the new rules will have a “big impact” on front office movement during the offseason. While fans are used to seeing team personnel changes every year, this new adjustment should increase the amount of rumors that swirl in terms of what front office executives will be coming and going from franchises across the league.
  • Today, the NFL and the Mexico Ministry of Tourism announced a new deal that will keep the league playing in Mexico from 2019-2021. The NFL’s Vice President of Football Communications Michael Signora posted a tweet of the agreement, which states that there will be a regular season game played in Mexico City for the next three years after the current contract ends next season. The move clearly indicates that the league is still looking to maintain and even gain more of a presence internationally. The Raiders have played in both contests in Mexico so far, so you would think that the NFL will continue to give international fans a chance to keep seeing them even after they relocate to Las Vegas.
  • In NFLPA news, a former challenger of current head of the union DeMaurice Smith, attorney Cyrus Mehri is being open about his concerns with how the organization is being run. Apparently, Mehri sent a report to players across the league accusing Smith of spending “excessive” amounts of money on legal fees in order to fight off challengers, including himself, according to Mark Maske of the Washington Post. Maske reports that the remarks from Mehri stated that the Players Union spent over $113 MM in legal fees when a league like the NBA was only spending about $1.5 MM in a similar amount of time. While Smith did end up holding onto his current job, this news opens up questions about some of the inner workings of the union under the control of Smith. We’ll see what defense the NFLPA comes out with because they have yet to comment on this situation and they will likely need to address these shady reports if Smith hopes to stand on firmer ground with his players in the months to come.

 

La Canfora’s Latest: Bills, P. Manning, Giants, Goodell

Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor is likely to be an attractive trade chip this offseason due to his relative youth, upside, and athleticism (not to mention his reasonable salary). Taylor is due a $6MM roster bonus in the first week of free agency this March, and even when he inked his current deal, it was speculated that Buffalo could cut Taylor before having to pay out that bonus. So while teams theoretically could wait for the Bills to release Taylor — they did just bench him, after all — La Canfora’s sources indicate that the ability to land him at a reasonable contract and secure his rights for at least 2018 would lead to someone giving Buffalo something of reasonable value.

Indeed, aside from the $6MM roster bonus, Taylor is owed a fairly modest $10MM base salary, and it’s not as if the free agent QB market is likely to set the world on fire. Plus, there will be plenty of teams who are unable to address their QB needs in the draft. La Canfora names the Jaguars, Broncos, Cardinals, and Saints as potential landing spots for Taylor, and he says the Bills will be doing their own homework on the 2018 quarterback draft class. He also says the Bills could continue to look to trade Cordy Glenn this offseason.

Now for more from La Canfora, who has again treated us to a bevy of Sunday morning notes:

  • Taylor might draw plenty of trade interest this offseason, but La Canfora writes that the Bills had been weighing the decision to start Nathan Peterman over Taylor for weeks, and the team’s slow starts and inability to throw the ball downfield ultimately forced the change.
  • We have heard plenty of speculation about the Browns‘ desire to bring future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning on board in some sort of high-level capacity, and La Canfora writes that club owner Jimmy Haslam is serious about recruiting Manning and could be willing to offer him a small stake in the team as incentive to take on a team president/top executive role.
  • Although Giants ownership recently indicated that head coach Ben McAdoo would at least get the opportunity to finish out the season before they make a decision on his future with the club, La Canfora says the club’s evaluation will not be limited to the coaching staff. He believes ownership could also make changes to the personnel side of team operations, suggesting that GM Jerry Reese could be on the hot seat.
  • La Canfora says that Roger Goodell never demanded $50MM per year and use of a private jet for life as part of his contract extension, as was reported last week. Instead, the structure that Goodell agreed to weeks ago will pay him a base salary of $20MM per year, with a chance to hit $200MM over five years if all incentives are met (Goodell had been earning about $40MM per year under his present contract). His new deal is still awaiting a formal signing/announcement.

Owners In Favor Of NFL Punishing Jerry Jones?

The Jerry JonesRoger Goodell feud is starting to look more like the Cowboys owner is taking on the majority of his peers.

Other NFL owners are expressing a strong sentiment toward the NFL taking disciplinary action against Jones, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports. While it’s uncertain how many owners are behind this, Maske reports some of the league’s most influential owners are in favor of Jones discipline.

Jones has threatened to sue the NFL because of, cosmetically speaking, Goodell’s contract. However, many owners are upset at the brash decision-maker for making his grievances public. And these owners, Maske reports, believe Jones’ actions are solely tied to Ezekiel Elliott‘s six-game suspension, which the running back is now serving at an inopportune time for the Cowboys.

Roger will be extended, and Jerry will be dealt with,” a person familiar with the owners’ sentiments said, via Maske, before adding “It depends on how far (Jones) goes,” regarding what kind of discipline will be levied.

Said punishment would ultimately come from Goodell and the owners’ management council executive committee. Jones has already been removed from the compensation committee.

The owners do not support Jones being forced to sell the Cowboys and view it as unrealistic, but a fine, suspension or the Cowboys losing draft picks would be in play in this scenario, Maske notes. Some explosive dialogue on Jones’ behalf was reported to have occurred recently, with ESPN.com’s Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham reporting Jones threatened Goodell during a phone call.

I’m gonna come after you with everything I have,” Jones said, via the ESPN tandem. “If you think [Patriots owner] Bob Kraft came after you hard [over Deflategate], Bob Kraft is a p—y compared to what I’m going to do.”

Jones is attempting to block a through-2024 Goodell extension, but Van Natta Jr. and Wickersham’s report indicates the owners’ actions are more about a power struggle than Jones taking issue with the commissioner’s contract.

The next set of owners’ meetings are set for Dec. 12-13 in Dallas, and Maske notes Goodell’s extension could be completed by then. Owners voted 32-0 in favor of a new Goodell deal to be authorized earlier this year. Upon the extension being completed, the league is not planning another ratification vote despite Jones’ wishes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Jerry Jones/Roger Goodell Saga

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones did not react well when he first heard that running back Ezekiel Elliott was being handed a six-game suspension. That fateful phone conversation between Jones, commissioner Roger Goodell, and general counsel Jeff Pash instantly ignited a war between the Cowboys owner and the league office. Jerry Jones (vertical)

I’m gonna come after you with everything I have,” Jones said, according to Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com. “If you think [Patriots owner] Bob Kraft came after you hard [over Deflategate], Bob Kraft is a p—y compared to what I’m going to do.”

The article from the ESPN duo, which is worth reading in full, paints an ugly picture of where things currently stand between Jones and the NFL. The story also goes into detail about a major chasm between Goodell’s administration and the league’s owners. Even within Goodell’s upper ranks, there appears to be a great deal of mistrust. Despite all of that, it appears that Goodell is on the brink of an extension that will give him a pay bump over his current $42MM salary.

Goodell was reportedly “furious” about this extension being delayed, and the ESPN duo report the 11th-year commissioner was “emboldened” at the notion he would accept a deep pay cut after making the league’s owners a lot of money, while “taking many bullets for them,” during his tenure. The commissioner still has support from many owners, and the ownership contingent expects his salary to land around the $40MM-AAV mark, Wickersham and Van Natta Jr. report. This comes after ESPN reported Goodell asked in August for a deal worth around $49MM per year, provided he reached incentives, and a compensation package that included the usage of a private jet for he and his family.

Goodell might walk away if the owners “squeeze him too hard” regarding his salary, Van Natta Jr. and Wickersham report. The lack of a successor plays into Goodell’s thinking here.

Van Natta Jr. and Wickersham also report the owners have considered other high-profile commissioner candidates. One owner’s confidant reached out to NBA commissioner Adam Silver about taking over for Goodell. Silver quickly said no. The owners also reached out to the International Olympic Committee in an attempt to find a candidate with experience growing sports globally.

Goodell’s predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, was mentioned as a possible one-year stopgap option while Goodell’s long-term successor was determined. It’s not clear whether the 76-year-old Taliabue would be interested, but Jones reportedly has his own candidate in mind. Other owners, by in large, aren’t interested in a Jones-handpicked successor.

The ESPN reporters note this Jones-Goodell feud is not about the commissioner’s contract, but rather power and control.

Jerry’s message to Roger was ‘I run this league. You better get with it,'” a senior league executive told ESPN. “This is about power and control, not the contract. That’s all white noise.”

Meanwhile, Jones figures to become a point of discussion in the Colin Kaepernick case. The quarterback’s attorneys will delve into the relationship between Jones and Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter and will inquire about whether Jones pushed Schnatter to slam Goodell on an earnings call, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports hears. A deposition for Jones could be finalized by mid-December. Schnatter, however, cannot be forced to give a deposition.

Sam Robinson contributed to this report.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones

The NFL has issued a letter to Jerry Jones’ attorney accusing the Cowboys owner of “conduct detrimental to the league’s best interests,” as Barry Wilner of The Associated Press writes. It appears that the league is barking back in the battle over commissioner Roger Goodell’s proposed extension. Jerry Jones (vertical)

[RELATED: Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Drops Appeal]

Your client’s antics, whatever their motivation, are damaging the league and reflect conduct detrimental to the league’s best interests,” the letter said.

Jones says that he has issues with Goodell’s compensation in the new contract and is also looking to limit the power of his office. Of course, this fury over Goodell’s deal has intersected with the Ezekiel Elliott‘s appeal (which was put to rest on Wednesday) as well as the anthem controversy, a matter on which Jones has been extremely outspoken.

Within the letter, the NFL confirms that Jones has been removed as a non-voting member of the compensation committee. It has been rumored that Jones gained entry to that group by essentially appointing himself a member. Jones was accused of abusing that access and spreading an outdated document from the Goodell negotiations with the rest of the league’s owners.

Someone who is genuinely concerned ‘that the owners know the truth about the negotiations’ would not deliberately distribute such an outdated document, particularly when he has in his possession drafts that are current and accurately reflect the actual state of negotiations, or threaten to sue the league and its owners if he does not get his way,” the letter said.

The NFL doesn’t have a problem with Jones’ opposition to Goodell’s extension, Mike Florio of PFT hears, but the league does have a big problem with how he has gone about expressing his displeasure. The league’s latest warning shot towards Jones may finally lead to deescalation, particularly since the Elliott matter is in the rear-view mirror.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Jets, Goodell, Burfict, Prosise

The Jets have no plans to bench Josh McCown in favor of youngster Christian Hackenberg, as NJ.com’s Connor Hughes writes. “This isn’t Triple-A,” quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates said Tuesday. “We’re going to play the best players that give us an opportunity to win at all positions. That’s our philosophy. Josh is our starter.”

Though just 1.5 games behind Buffalo for the AFC’s last wildcard spot, New York is sitting last in the East with a 4-6 record and might be better served seeing what the team has in Hackenberg or Bryce Petty sooner rather than later with McCown, at 38 and on a one-year deal, obviously not the team’s future at the position.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • League spokesman Joe Lockhart says the impetus for signing commissioner Roger Goodell to a new deal despite having 18 months remaining on his current contract were a series on notable events on the horizon, according to ESPN’s Jim Trotter (Twitter link) Those milestones include the new collective bargaining agreement in 2020 and network TV deals in 2021 and 2022. “Sense that getting an extension beyond those dates was in the best interest of (NFL),” Lockhart said.
  • Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict will not be suspended for making contact with a referee in Sunday’s game vs. Tennessee, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Instead, it will be reviewed using the standard process for a possible fine. Burfict was ejected from the game after picking up a pair of personal-foul penalties on one drive midway through the second quarter.
  • 49ers safety Adrian Colbert could possibly miss the team’s upcoming game with Seattle after breaking his thumb vs. New York, coach Kyle Shanahan tells reporters and ESPN’s Nick Wagoner (Twitter link). The injury, which will require surgery, was sustained early in the first quarter but Colbert managed to play the rest of the way. Should he not be ready for the Seahawks, Antone Exum and Dexter McCoil are potential replacements, according to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco (Twitter link).
  • Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson is happy to have left Cleveland and hopes Jacksonville can “hang 40 on them” when the team’s meet up this weekend, writes ESPN’s Michael DiRocco. The veteran defender spent his first four seasons with the Browns before joining the Jags in 2016 and apparently still harbors some ill feelings to the organization, which he also criticized for not drafting Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson.
  • Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise could return in time for the postseason, head coach Pete Carroll told reporters, including Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. The coach said the injury will have Prosise sidelined six weeks, but he must sit out eight games after being placed on IR.

NFC South Notes: Falcons, Clayborn, Blank

Falcons defensive end Adrian Clayborn had six sacks on Sunday, and that allowed him to cash in on a $750K incentive, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Clayborn’s contract called for a $750K incentive if he reached eight sacks on the year and he entered the game with two. If he gets another two this season, he’ll earn $1.25MM. Clayborn’s real payday could come in the spring after his two-year contract with Atlanta expires. The former first-round pick is still only 29 and will not turn 30 until next July.

Here’s more from the NFC South:

  • Falcons owner Arthur Blank did his best to quiet speculation about Roger Goodell‘s pending extension in a statement. “The Committee is continuing its work towards finalizing a contract extension with the Commissioner, consistent with the mandate provided in the unanimous May 2017 Resolution,” Blank said (via Schefter on Facebook). “Regardless of what may have been reported, the Committee is working within the financial parameters outlined to the ownership at the May meeting. The negotiations are progressing and we will keep ownership apprised of the negotiations as they move forward. We do not intend to publicly comment on our discussions.”
  • Panthers rookie wide receiver Curtis Samuel may be done for season, as Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer writes. Samuel exited Carolina’s 45-21 win over Miami in the third quarter after a Dolphins defensive back rolled on his foot. Initially, it was believed that Samuel had suffered a high ankle sprain, but a team source tells Person that it could be a whole lot worse. If Samuel is done, the Panthers could replace him with second-year wideout Damiere Byrd since he can return from IR in time for their game against New Orleans on Dec. 3.
  • Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter expects Jameis Winston to play again this season.
  • Saints running back Daniel Lasco is done for the year.

Latest On Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones

Reports that the league’s owners could force Jerry Jones to sell the Cowboys are “”laughable and ridiculous,” Jones told 105.3 The Fan (transcription via Kate Hairopolos of the Dallas Morning News). Jerry Jones

I’ve had not one, not one, inkling of communication from the league office or any owner that would suggest something that laughable and ridiculous, and that’s about where that is,” Jones said on his radio show on Tuesday. “If somebody is asserting that then they are not knowledgeable about how things work in the NFL.”

The notion that Jones could be forced to part ways with the Cowboys does seem pretty far fetched. However, the league’s owners could move to bring other sanctions against Jones for his crusade against commissioner Roger Goodell. Among the measures being discussed are fines, a suspension, or a loss of draft capital for the Cowboys, Mark Maske of The Washington Post (Twitter link) hears. Maske’s sources did not mention a scenario in which Jones is made to sell the Cowboys, however. It’s also not a given that Jones will be penalized at all, though it is at least being talked about.

For his part, Jones feels that the league’s owners have “all the time in the world” to extend Goodell and he doesn’t want the deal to be completed in haste given that the commissioner still has 18 months left on his current contract. The Cowboys owner asserts that more than half of the league’s owners are in his corner on this matter.

 

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Roger Goodell’s Contract, Jerry Jones’ Opposition

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that the league’s Compensation Committee will hold a conference call tomorrow to discuss commissioner Roger Goodell‘s contract extension and Goodell’s latest counterproposal requesting a $50MM salary as well as the lifetime use of a private jet and lifetime health insurance for his family. This comes on the heels of a story from Peter King of TheMMQB that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to “overthrow” Goodell.

Jerry Jones

Jones has done his best to hold up an extension for Goodell, which was supposed to be finalized in August. While the general assumption is that Jones became angry with Goodell for the commissioner’s suspension of Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott, Jones himself has said that is not the case, and that his problems with Goodell’s contract extension as currently constructed has less to do with the commissioner and more with the power of the position he holds.

King’s report is largely in accord with Jones’ assertions. King says Jones is right in that Goodell’s current contract, which pays him around $35MM annually with no performance aspect to it, is “excessive bordering on avaricious.” Furthermore, Jones contends that even if the current proposed contract for Goodell is approved — a contract that will make 88% of Goodell’s compensation incentive-based — the vague parameters of the incentives will allow Goodell to earn the same salary he has been earning anyway, regardless of the overall performance of the league. So, while Elliott’s suspension may have plenty to do with Jones’ discontent, it is not the only basis for it (Jones is also displeased with the fact that Goodell seems generally “suspension-happy”).

As such, Jones threatened to sue the league in a November 2 conference call, a threat that understandably rankled his fellow owners. King points out that Jones has taken unpopular stances before, and has ultimately prevailed, but this time, he does not have many partners in his struggle to overthrow the current way of doing business in the NFL. Indeed, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes, Jones is losing credibility with, and influence over, other owners. Although Schefter’s report indicates that other owners are displeased with the outlandishness of Goodell’s most recent demands, it does not sound as if Goodell will walk away on his own, and it is similarly unlikely that there will be enough owners to force him out.

Interestingly, La Canfora notes in a separate piece that Goodell’s confidants and advisers are urging him to simply sign the proposed contract now and put the matter behind him, but King says there is not presently a contract to sign. King reports that the Compensation Committee and Goodell are still cleaning up a few points that go beyond mere formalities — like the private jet, for instance? — and that it could be a couple of weeks before Goodell can put pen to paper.

Presumably, tomorrow’s conference call will lend a little more clarity to this story. As of right now, though, it still seems as if Jones is waging a war that he is unlikely to win, and that Goodell will remain the league’s commissioner for the long haul (while being handsomely compensated for his efforts, even if a jet is not a part of the package).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.