Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal has had the scoop of the morning (so far), reporting that Commissioner Roger Goodell is close to signing a five-year extension. Others have followed suit, including NFL Media — which essentially makes it an announcement.
One reporter is pushing back, however. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that “[t]alks for Roger Goodell’s new deal have not progressed as some thought.” Ominous as that sounds, Schefter concedes that a “[d]eal [is] likely to get done, but still issues to work out.”
That’s ultimately not a contradiction of Kaplan’s report. “Close” and “issues to work out” are essentially the same thing. But it’s human nature for those who have been scooped to try to advance the story, even if the new wrinkle doesn’t really advance the story at all.
As it relates to this specific story, Kaplan may have buried the lead. He reports that the contract simply needs to be approved by the Compensation Committee, which currently has six owners (there had been only three before that) — and which received the authority from all owners in May to do the deal.
This very real and meaty wrinkle cuts against the March 2017 efforts of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to involve all owners in the negotiation of the contract with the Commissioner, a concern that arose from a belief that the owners pay the Commissioner too much money. While the number of owners apparently doubled (Jones, per Kaplan, isn’t one of them), 26 others will be on the sidelines for the negotiations.
It appears that the six owners with the power to do the new deal won’t be squeezing Goodell to take less. Per Kaplan, the new contract will be “similar” to the current package, with a base salary of a few million per year and a bonus each year to be determined by the Compensation Committee.
Absent a leak, no one will know what Goodell actually makes. Those who pushed the blatantly false narrative that the league office’s tax-exempt status meant that the teams and owners aren’t paying taxes managed to shame the league into ditching that designation — which in turn allows the NFL to keep compensation for highly-paid executives secret.