Two of the NFL giants went toe-to-toe on Tuesday over Roger Goodell’s contract. Thirty-one of the 32 owners reportedly gave the green light for the compensation committee to open a conversation with Goodell for a new contract. The lone dissenter? Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
According to an ESPN report, Jones and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft engaged in a “heated exchange” during an owners meeting in New York. Jones, who purchased the Cowboys in 1989 – five years before Kraft joined the owners' circle – is one of the most well-known names in the NFL.
While sources claimed the incident was isolated and not a reflection of any lingering animosity between the two owners, it certainly sparked some questions about Goodell’s contract.
Here’s a closer look at what the commissioner makes.
What is Roger Goodell’s current contract?
Despite rumors of contract negotiations emerging as early as this February, Goodell currently remains under contract with the NFL until March 2024. This gives the league plenty of time to reach an agreement for a fourth extension with Goodell.
Goodell, 63, was first named commissioner in 2006, replacing Paul Tagliabue, who had retired after nearly 17 years at the helm of the NFL. Despite a number of controversies – including players protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem and mounting evidence about the prevalence of CTE and the destructive impacts it has on players long term – the NFL has continued to thrive under Goodell’s leadership.
Throughout his tenure, franchise valuation has seemingly soared across the league. There were seven team transactions in the decade prior to Goodell’s appointment, averaging just over $600 million. Since 2006, there have been seven other transactions that have averaged $1.84 billion, headlined by a record-shattering $4.65 billion purchase of the Denver Broncos by Walmart heir Rob Walton this past summer, the most ever paid for a U.S. sports team.
He was rewarded for his efforts with contract extensions in 2009, 2012 and 2017. While the exact terms of the 2017 deal were never disclosed, the New York Times reported that he made $128 million over a two-year stretch from 2019 to 2021. The report also claimed that about 90% of Goodell’s compensation was tied to bonuses as a result of successful labor and media negotiations.
How does Roger Goodell’s contract measure against other league commissioners?
Unsurprisingly, Goodell is far and away the highest-paid commissioner of any of the four major North American sports. His $63.9 million earned for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons dwarfs that of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who make $10 million and $17.5 million, respectively, per year. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s salary is estimated to be on par with Silver.
Why does Jerry Jones care how much money Roger Goodell makes?
Why is Jones – valued at $15.8 billion – choosing to die on this hill?
According to an ESPN report, Jones has long been a skeptic of Goodell’s contract, preferring strict financial benchmarks over bonuses he believes to be too vague.
“He believes in corporate good governance and wants accountability on the financial goals tied to Roger’s bonus,” a league source familiar with Jones’ thinking told ESPN. “He is sensitive to awarding a big bonus to Roger before he performs and earns it.”
Back in 2017, Jones reportedly headlined a group of 17 owners – more than half the league – that considered “hijacking” Goodell’s contract extension. If the vote during Tuesday’s meeting is any indication, Jones seems to have lost some support on the issue.
What is Roger Goodell's net worth?
Celebrity Net Worth estimates Goodell’s net worth to be $200 million.