When it comes to the disputed contract extension that will (or won’t) be signed by Commissioner Roger Goodell, the concerns of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones apparently extend beyond Goodell’s compensation package.
In a Friday appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Jones explained his concerns, while also confirming that he has hired a lawyer to handle the situation.
“The news account were right in this respect,” Jones said. “This is such an important matter in light of all that’s going on in the NFL right now that I basically feel that this extension of Roger should go and be reviewed and approved by all the owners, not just a few of the owners. And the committee that basically negotiates the salary with our Commissioner is taking the view, especially the chairman [Arthur Blank], that they in a limited group can complete this agreement. And I disagree. I think that we should with all the interest and commitment that we have throughout the ownership — this is the most aware ownership, the smartest ownership if you will, to a man, to a team, is more sophisticated in knowledge, is more involved in the operations of these clubs. So . . . on the extension of the Commissioner that everybody should not only really get involved but make their own decision. So this is simply about making sure that all clubs have input in not only what the Commissioner, his extension, but also in future years his decisions. And we all see how impactful a Commissioner’s decision can be in many areas. We’ve given him a lot of power. I think we need the checks and balances of ownership of actually having be in a position to not just suggest but approve of his decisions. So that’s what this is about.”
So it’s about Goodell’s money and his power. The problem, however, is that the owners granted the Compensation Committee the authority in May to negotiate and finalize a five-year extension. Absent evidence that the Compensation Committee is exceeding its authority or that the authority was not valid, Jones needs 23 other owners in order to undo that which all of them decided to do six months ago.
Absent 24 total votes, Jones seems to be inclined to use the legal system to get what he wants. He declined to reveal his plans in that regard.
“I know [the next step], but I wouldn’t want to get into that right now,” Jones said. “There is strategy involved here. And that’s, I guess, with everything, there’s strategy. But there’s certainly strategy in this. But I’m well founded and I’ve got good advisers and I do know what I’m talking about here.”
Jones said that what he ultimately wants is the ability of the owners to give up-or-down approval to the final agreement negotiated with Goodell. Maybe that’s what they should have done in the first place: Allow the Compensation Committee to negotiate the deal, then approve it.
Regardless, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to include one more step that would require 24 owners to give a thump’s up to the contract before Goodell and the league put their signatures on it. Whether that’s what they should have done in the first place, it doesn’t seem to be too late to do it now.