Roger Goodell and NFL owners are expected to finalize a multi-year contract extension for the commissioner at next week’s owners meetings in Phoenix, league sources told ESPN.
The NFL’s compensation committee is scheduled to present the proposed extension to team owners during a special privileged session Tuesday afternoon. Only one member of each team is allowed in that meeting.
Goodell’s extension has been in the works since last season, when the compensation committee received permission from all members to make an extension, according to sources. The parties have discussed a three-year extension, according to the sources, but no time frame has yet been agreed upon.
The NFL has declined to comment.
The financial framework of Goodell’s new deal is unknown, but it is expected to be loaded with incentives and, given the league’s financial success, to be the most lucrative deal ever awarded to any commissioner in any sport.
This is the fourth extension for Goodell, who replaced Paul Tagliabue on September 1, 2006; previous extensions came in 2009, 2012 and 2017.
The process leading up to this extension appears to have gone much better than the last one in 2017, when Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to sue before the league ultimately fined him for his legal threats. That agreement went into effect in 2019.
Since then, Goodell has helped finalize a collective bargaining agreement that has brought continued labor peace and new $100 billion-plus media rights deals with CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN and Amazon that make the NFL the envy of other leagues. The NFL also has multi-million dollar streaming deals with YouTube for its Sunday Ticket game package.
Additionally, the NFL played its entire slate of games during the COVID-19 pandemic, and players received 100% of their compensation, which hasn’t been lost to owners during this push to finalize Goodell’s extension, according to sources. .
NFL owners have also seen the value of their teams skyrocket during Goodell’s tenure as commissioner. The Minnesota Vikings, the last team to sell before Goodell took over in 2006, sold for $600 million, while the Denver Broncos sold for more than $4.5 billion last year.
However, Goodell’s tenure has not been without controversy. Player safety, particularly concussion, has been an ongoing problem, as has the league’s slow process of hiring minority team presidents, general managers and coaches. More recently, the league’s handling of player discipline, as well as player social activism, has been a part of Goodell’s legacy.
There was speculation that Goodell’s 2017 extension would be his last, that once he helped negotiate a new CBA in 2020 and media rights deals in 2021, he would retire. But Goodell loves his work, and league insiders say he’s not ready to step aside.
Goodell is 64 years old and some believe this will be his last NFL contract. Former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle resigned when he was 63, and Tagliabue left when he was 65. Goodell is a well-known fitness fanatic and his stamina belies his age.
However, once this extension is complete, the next few years are also expected to bring increased emphasis on identifying potential candidates to be Goodell’s successor.
Internal candidates could include Director of Media and Business Brian Rolapp, Executive Vice President/Soccer Operations Troy Vincent, Chief Administrator of Soccer Operations Dawn Aponte, Executive Vice President/Club Business and League Events Peter O’ Reilly and chief revenue officer Renie Anderson.
Outside candidates for the league office could include Chicago Bears president Kevin Warren and Los Angeles Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff.