NFL vice president Joe Lockhart confirmed on Thursday that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has threatened to sue the league in hopes of blocking a planned contract extension for commissioner Roger Goodell.
Lockhart said the threatened litigation is why Jones was removed from the compensation committee working on the Goodell extension.
He said suit has not yet been filed and he expects the extension to be approved by the six-man competition committee soon.
More important, Lockhhart doesn’t believe Jones’ suit has any legal standing because all 32 NFL owners voted unanimously in May to give the six-man committee authorization to extend Goodell.
“I’d say that, on the issue of extending the commissioner’s contract that in the spring meeting in Chicago, the owners voted unanimously to authorize the compensation committee to enter in to negotiations and offer the commissioner an extension of his contract through 2024,” Lockhart said during a Thursday afternoon media briefing.
“The 32-0 vote gives them the authority to enter into a contract extension,” Lockhart said, adding no further vote of the owners is necessary to conclude the extension.
Jones’ points of contention with the Goodell extension are the compensation package and structure of the contract, according to a sources.
Jones is not believed to be alone in his opposition of the extension and wants more than six owners to decide on the extension, despite the previous vote giving authorization to the committee.
Jones is also miffed at Goodell over the handling of the six-game suspension for running back Ezekiel Elliott, according to a source.
Elliott was suspended Aug. 11 for violating the league’s personal conduct policy for allegedly committing domestic violence against former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson.
Jones believes he was lied to by Goodell who told him Elliott, who was never charged or arrested in the case, would face no suspension and considers it an unforgivable breach of trust.
Lockhart denies that allegation and said Goodell was upfront and honest regarding the league’s 13-month investigation and subsequent suspension of Elliott on Aug. 11.
The NFL remains in an ongoing battle with Elliott in federal court and it is still a bone of contention with Jones.
Jones has consistently contended that Elliott has done nothing to be suspended for in the eyes of the legal system and that the NFL had no credible reason to suspend him.
Jones said the suspension was the result of Goodell reacting to public perception regarding past mistakes by the league in how it handled previous domestic violence cases.
Jones called the Elliott suspension an over-correction by Goodell.