Is Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones holding up a contract extension for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell?
And is star running back Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension a contributing factor?
Speaking in the locker room following Sunday’s 42-17 blowout loss to the Denver Broncos, Jones called an ESPN report that he was holding up a five-year extension for Goodell an “exaggeration” and less than substantive.
“All of that is without any substance at all,” Jones said. “The exercise of looking and extending our commissioner’s contract is one that we keep really in tight. There are certainly exaggerations there. That’s not the way that works. I’ve always supported Roger and let’s just leave it at that. I wouldn’t get into the nuances and deny anything that was written, whether it was true or not.”
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Goodell was reportedly close to an agreement on a five-year extension last month. But that was before an angry Jones, an unofficial seventh member of the NFL’s six-man compensation committee, interjected himself. Jones referred to himself as an “ombudsman” to the group.
Jones — who already felt the commissioner made too much money and told the owners as much during a closed-door meeting in March, per Pro Football Talk — is not happy about the NFL’s handling of 13-month investigation of Elliot for allegedly committing domestic violence against former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson.
Per a source, Jones was told there would be no suspension, which was at the root of his confidence that the NFL had no evidence and there would be no discipline.
So Jones’ disappointment and anger were palpable when Goodell announced a six-game suspension for Elliott on Aug. 11. It’s not so much that Elliot was suspended but that he was misled, resulting in a breach of trust.
Asked if it was Goodell who told him Elliott was not going to be suspended, Jones declined to give a direct answer.
“I wouldn’t dare get into any of our conversations or anything,” Jones said. “But we did have conversations regarding Zeke.”
Jones said he’s always supported Goodell, calling himself “one of his biggest supporters.”
He also said the Elliott situation is separate from the contract negotiations with Goodell.
“I could understand why ironically we’ve got the Zeke issue at the same time that we’re looking at extending Roger’s contract, that he made the ruling,” Jones said. “I see that. But every day I deal with conflicts of interest and he deals with it, the commissioner deals with it every day. You just have to get used to that. You look at the issue as the issue.”
A source said Jones is not the only owner holding up Goodell’s contract extension and that the situation is far from having a quick resolution.
What’s also true is that Jones has immense power and influence over the owners, considering the impact he had on the stadium deal in Los Angeles and the subsequent relocations of the Rams and Chargers, as well as the Oakland Raiders’ pending move to Las Vegas.
This does not include the sway he has with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers, since they use his marketing and hospitality company in their new stadiums.
The situation could come to a head on a conference call Wednesday, when the compensation committee will discuss a term proposal for Goodell, per ESPN.
Jones will be on the call.