Jerry Jones spoke for “5 to 10 minutes” during the NFL owners meetings Wednesday morning. By all accounts, the Cowboys owner is on board with the contract extension for Roger Goodell.
Jones is scheduled to speak with the media when the meetings conclude this afternoon.
“He was fine. He was a Texas gentleman,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said during a break.
Owners likely did not grab hands and sing Kumbaya, but they are singing the same song. Jones seems to have made peace with Goodell’s performance-based extension, which will pay him up to $200 million.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank, the chairman of the Compensation Committee, joined Committee member Bob McNair, the Houston Texans owner, in a conference call with Jones a few days before the contract was signed by Goodell.
“I’ve got a great respect for Jerry,” Blank said. “. . . It was a very good conversation. I thanked him, which I didn’t get a chance to do, or chose not to do really, the time we [the Falcons and Cowboys] played because I didn’t think it was the right setting. I thanked him for the help he’s been to myself and to many owners throughout the league, his leadership in stadium development and branding and marketing and a variety of issues. Jerry has been an active owner and an important owner in the progress of the league over the last 28 years.
“We were not necessarily connected totally on how this process should have been handled.”
Jones tried to derail the deal for Goodell, which will run through the 2023 season and into the spring of 2024. Jones failed because owners gave the Compensation Committee unanimous authorization in May 2017 to execute the contract.
Jones threatened to sue at one point in his fight, prompting the six owners on the Compensation Committee to send Jones a letter telling him to cease and desist. Blank would not comment on the letter.
“I was bothered by anything — and I think the owners are bothered by anything that was a distraction from the league and from the league’s business, both the issues and the opportunities that the league has,” Blank said. “I think there was a general strong feeling in the room that we need to bond together, be together, be a team on the field and off the field as a group of owners in dealing with the issues and the opportunities that the league has now. Our world is changing dramatically in terms of fans and how they’re receiving our content and the experience they have in the stadiums and obviously player relationships are critical, and player safety is critical. The view of the outside world of the league is very important to us. All of those issues we spent a great deal of time on this morning.”
Blank avoided Jones before the Falcons’ Nov. 12 game against the Cowboys, an unusual pregame occurrence between owners.
Jones has insisted that he has had the league’s best interests in mind, even as he fought the deal, and that his attempts to prevent the extension had nothing to do with his anger over Ezekiel Elliott‘s six-game suspension.
Blank was asked if Jones had mended fences, with the contract a single-issue disagreement or a long-term rift.
“I don’t know that there’s a rift going forward,” Blank said. “I think that Jerry, he loves the league; he loves the Cowboys; he’s very passionate about issues that he cares deeply about, which is great. I think it’s important to have different voices in the room. You’ve got a lot of very bright men and women in that room that care about not only their own franchise but care about the pillars of the National Football League, care about our fans, care about our players, care about our sponsors, care about media partners. I think we’re all committed to being connected and dealing with those issues.”