Compensation Committee received a blank check in May

Getty Images

The NFL planted the seeds for what became the Commissioner’s pay poison ivy patch in May, voting unanimously to authorize the six-member Compensation Committee to enter into a new contract with Roger Goodell. As Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continues his crusade against what he perceives as a sweetheart deal, the best way to understand the fight is to go back to the moment the mandate was given.

So here’s the question that previously has gone unanswered: What authority did the full ownership delegate to the Compensation Committee in May? More specifically, did the resolution that authorized negotiation and finalization of the deal contain a range (most importantly a limit) regarding Goodell’s salary, bonuses, benefits, etc?

The answer: The committee received full and complete authority, with no pre-set ceiling.

“By 32-0 vote the ownership authorized the compensation committee to negotiate and enter into an agreement with the Commissioner to extend his contract,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart told PFT by email on Friday. While it’s possible that some discussion occurred regarding the structure of the deal (for example, its duration), the Compensation Committee was charged with getting the deal done.

A league source with knowledge of the situation confirmed, and elaborated, on the situation. The resolution, per the source, has no specificity. The source also described it as “one of the most vague and generalized resolutions on the books,” with no commentary in the official minutes regarding the process that culminated in the vote.

There was “very limited discussion” of the authority of the Compensation Committee, the source said, with the only point of any real substance being that the Compensation Committee planned to push for terms that would make the maximum compensation discretionary.

The current problem for Jones is that he voted for the resolution, regardless of its breadth and ambiguity. Multiple sources have informed PFT that Jones actually spoke out in favor of the move before the unanimous vote.

On one hand, his enthusiasm for the procedure came before Ezekiel Elliott was suspended. On the other hand, Jones had flagged his concerns before the May meeting. As PFT reported in the aftermath of the annual meeting in March, Jones argued generally for limiting Commissioner compensation (among other things) in an owners-only session.

While this information moves the situation no closer to resolution, it crystallizes the basis for the ongoing fight. The Compensation Committee essentially received a blank check, and Jones has been resisting the manner in which they plan to fill it out.

This makes his agreement to the approach even more confusing. One source suggested that he believed an ad hoc seat on the Compensation Committee would allow him to ensure that the contract didn’t become too bloated. That hasn’t worked, and it’s obvious that the push against the pay package became more pronounced once Goodell suspended Elliott.

Given what transpired in May, the best approach would seem to be for Jones to persuade at least 23 other owners to retract or rescind the May resolution, and to provide the Compensation Committee with clear, obvious limits — or to require the final proposed contract to be approved by 24 or more of the group. The manner in which Jones has combated the issue, with suspected instigation of complaints from Papa John’s and threats of litigation, will as a practical matter make it harder for him to rally enough support.

42 responses to “Compensation Committee received a blank check in May

  1. Perhaps they did not foresee how ineptly Roger would handle the kneeling issue and that he would ask for $50MIL/year and use of a Jet.

    The NFL can certainly find a more competent and qualified Exec in the WORLD who will do the job for less than $50MIL/year. Time to be honest.

  2. The committee has had a blank check for 6 months and there is no deal as yet. Jones obviously isn’t the only one that wants to limit the pay ceiling and incentivize the deal or it would be done already. Kraft and Hunt are on the committee and they have ample reasons to want to see Goodell at least get a haircut. Blank and Mara are Roger’s buddies,they get whatever they need from him. That leaves Rooney and McNair to be persuaded by discussions. At least they have the good sense to keep things behind closed doors.

  3. Fans will have to pay for this super-rich compensation package for Goodell. Not even some owners get that kind of money! Goodell has failed with the protest issue and also allowing teams to relocate whenever and wherever they want. This is destroying the NFL. No new contract for his failed management of the NFL. Jerry is right.

  4. So the owners lied, something Roger is very familiar with.

    I’m sure he’ll understand. Lol

  5. Goodell is a stiff, wooden, unlikable dolt who has unfailingly bungled every issue he has confronted. He has all of the warmth and personality of a dead mackerel, and is roundly booed by fans at every public appearance.

    How this collection of 32 morons who own the NFL teams could have authorized “blank check” authority to the compensation committee is absolutely beyond my comprehension. They should have been voting unanimously to fire this knucklehead.

  6. More proof that Jones and Goodell were working together… pissing off the other owners who then twisted Goodell’s arm into suspending Elliott, which pissed off Jones.

    This is completely Jones and Goodell fault for manipulating the other owners.

  7. Goodell did not fail with the protest issue, at least not in the players eyes and several owners. Goodell has always been clear, he wants the players to stand. It was always up to the owners to issue their policy. And if Goodell did make the mistake of making that demand, you would still blamed him for it. Jerry Jones is the one who has mismanaged the anthem issue. He is no hero.

  8. Sport, Jerry has talked the talked and has not walked the walk on any of the issues you mention. Jerry has not provided any proof in the form of numbers and percentages that are a direct result of the protesters. Just old contract paperwork who he knew was outdated and left out key facts.

  9. Just because they have a blank check, doesn’t mean they have to be stupid about negotiating.

    There isn’t any maximum limit – there also isn’t a minimum.

    They could act responsibly and make the offer so low that Goodell rejects it.

    That would be a good thing.

  10. Just like with the players….if certain owners didn’t like the compensation process the time to voice those concerns was before unanimously voting to give negotiation power to the compensation committee.

    I don’t like Goodell and honestly would love to see him booted but Jones is fighting a losing battle.

  11. Isn’t that exactly what happened the last two times he was extended, in 2009 and 2012? The owners voted and gave authority to the committee. Blank was a member of the committee last time also.

  12. He has eighteen months left on his current contract, extend it next year if he hasn’t allowed the league to fail yet.

  13. He may have believed the other owners saw what was so so obvious, Roger Goodell is incompetent, and that the compensation committee would act accordingly.

  14. redlikethepig says:
    November 18, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Jerrah is a track suit away from becoming Al Davis.

    Jerry is no Al Davis. Davis was a genuine maverick and a true innovator, Jerry is a barracuda with distemper.

  15. The mouthy NFL owners have created their own problem. They started a war within their own league, and they’ve divided their fans. They basically took a page out of Trump’s book of division. Their popularity is plunging, like Trump’s. Jerry Jones didn’t have any issues with the Elliott case. That’s been going on for a long time. Jerry can’t help himself. He is still trying to be divisive on the anthem issue. He sees the backlash on Papa John, so he’s pretending he’s mad about Elliott. Goodell is an easy target these days. Jones is hurting the league. He might unable to get out of his own way.

  16. The NFLPA is sitting back watching the circus show. If you thought the last labor agreement was tough, just wait! Blank checks, private jet for life, $49.5 million check, and a future labor agreement that will be a nightmare for the owners. So, how blank will that check be in the next labor negotiations?

  17. It doesn’t seem like much of a battle. 32-0 in May. The NFL owners did a reorg of Committee heads in 2011. Arthur Blank stayed head of Audit and Compensation.

  18. Roger is the son of a professional politician.
    For good reason, the public are sick of those from that entitled political class.

    The NFL can do better for $50MIL/year.

  19. “Jones actually spoke out in favor of the move before the unanimous vote.”

    Jones was Goodell’s #1 supporter before Elliots suspension because the two have been working together to steer the other owners. Jones is only doing the right thing now, because Elliot’s suspension, other wise Jones would still be supporting the corruption of Goodell.

  20. Although I really don’t get it (because I think the league needs him just gone) perhaps there is some reason known only to the owners where keeping Goodell works better than trying to bring in someone else. But this blank check thing is still a head scratcher and then the ridiculously high deal it is turning into makes no sense at all. If they said they wanted to keep him I could maybe allow there are factors I dont know, but if doing that having his salary reduced then tied to results (so if he turnns things around he then can get extra otherwise no) makes so much sense I just dont get the argument against it.

  21. Why is there even a negotiation? They should just tell Roger how much he is going to make, take it or leave it.

    He is just a puppet of the owners, isn’t he?

  22. The owners have no reason to get rid off Goodell. The reality is that he punished the Patriots twice for cheating, there is no question of the Patriots betraying the public’s trust and confidence in the game. The punished the the Saints for illegal bounties that are not only against the rules but against the law. He made so anyone who is involved again, will be held accountable and can’t hide behind the owners. He effectively blocked teams suing the Patriots over spygate. Bullygate, addressed a serious problem in the NFL but also in society. Not seeing a downside.

  23. limakey says:
    November 18, 2017 at 3:27 pm
    The owners have no reason to get rid off Goodell. The reality is that he punished the Patriots twice for cheating

    That’s only your reality, liar.

  24. They should treat Goodell like a player. Tell him what he will make, make his contract non-guaranteed, and that’s that. If he doesn’t like it, what is he going to do, go be the NBA Commissioner?

  25. How can they wanna keep this guy who has so mismanaged the national perception of the league,
    he’s essentially tanking the NFL through his lack of leadership on the National Anthem protests, and bumbling league discipline, the national NFL support is at a alltime low and they will be facing a major, major crisis when TV contracts come up in 2022.

  26. If the league can go with a blank check to pay for that kind of leadership, I’m glad I’m not financially invested in the NFL. The players burned whatever political capital or public’s good will they had with the Anthem controversy. Good luck come contract time…

  27. Plenty has happened since May, including the kneeling “issue”, Goodell trying to use it to get closer to the NFLPA, Goodell getting into a conflict with Jones (he lied to Jones about the suspension, which is a slightly different issue than the actual suspension) and reacting by trying to leverage owners against other owners to protect himself, leaking league information or using league personnel (Lockhart) to release information supporting his personal situation, and co-authoring a letter to Congress that many owners may not agree with. Goodell is an employee, not an owner. As McNair put it, the owners can’t have the inmates (i.e. the league office) running the prison. Seems like there are plenty of reasons why a unanimous vote in May should/could be re-visited in December.

  28. Green, perception and reality are two completely elements. The perception is driven by the media who will pick whatever side that generates the most cash. Jerry Jones wants the perception that the NFL is into decline and it’s all Goodell’s fault. That is not the reality. Jerry has provided zero proof of his accusations and thought he could threaten and bully the other owners.

  29. I think Jerry Jones is lying that Roger Goodell told him Zeke would not be suspended. When Jerry went on his rant to Goodell about coming after him with everything he’s got, no where does he say, but Roger you told me he wouldn’t be! And the issue is on What Zeke did, his actions and it has nothing to do with a breach of trust. Jerry hears what he wants to hear and will spin it anyway he can. He lied a out the Cowboys having a zero policy on domestic violence. Jerry Jones is going to lose on this issue. All because he bet his season on a player who has a nasty habit of abusing girls. The victim is not Zeke’s first victim. And I doubt she will be the last.

  30. I personally think Jerry Jones is only doing this because of see but i also know the commissioner needs to go and I don’t care how. Roger hasn’t just mishandled the kneeling incident he has mishandled almost everything since he has came into his position. This man is good as a member of a team but he is a horrible decision maker and he is reactive on nature and never proactive like his counterparts. Adam silver knows that even though NBA fans are more liberal in nature he couldn’t afford to let his players protest the anthem because no matter the reason they do it it’s bad publicity and it sets a bad president. Roger needs to go before he destroys the league we all left.

  31. Interesting comparison between NBA and NFL. The NBA player who sat for the anthem did so because of his conversion to the Muslim faith. He believed it went against the rules of Islam. The NBA said that no, it is not a question of faith and everybody will stand. The same player also adopted the same dietary laws of his faith and caused him to lose weight and his impact on the court became less. You can’t compare the two. Unless you want to consider that Colin hid behind his conversion and wrapped it up in social injustices.

  32. I’m guessing I’m not the only one noticing Rogers’ gift to the NFL in all those empty stadiums lately. It’s a cautionary tale and a preview of the NFL future.. Continue to keep your head in the sand limakey.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.