Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had his say at the NFL owners meeting on Wednesday, but didn’t impact Roger Goodell’s contract extension. Ray Carlin Special to the Star-Telegram
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had his say at the NFL owners meeting on Wednesday, but didn’t impact Roger Goodell’s contract extension. Ray Carlin Special to the Star-Telegram

Dallas Cowboys

Jones takes gentleman’s approach to Goodell’s contract, wins other battles

By Clarence E. Hill Jr.

chill@star-telegram.com

December 13, 2017 04:12 PM

IRVING

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones didn't achieve his ultimate goal of delaying, if not outright blocking, a contract extension on Wednesday for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Goodell has already signed a six-extension worth up to $200 million that runs through 2024 in what will be his last contract with the NFL.

But Jones _ who has been challenging Goodell's pay for more than a year and more recently been railing against the commissioner's power, especially in terms of player discipline in light of the six-game suspension of star running back Ezekiel Elliott _ won some key battles.

In the process, Jones came across as “a Texas gentleman” in what was a unifying NFL owners meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel.

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At least that's how Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay described a proceeding that had the potential to be contentious after threats of lawsuits and accusations of conduct detrimental to the league regarding Jones over the last few months.

“He was fine. He was a Texas gentleman,” Irsay said during a break.

Irsay said the owners are unified going forward.

And while Jones didn't get his way, he did get to walk away with some feelings of accomplishment over how the commissioner's contract will be handled going forward.

Per NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart, “almost 90 percent of the compensation is performance-based and not guaranteed.”

“Most of the owners will have some involvement in the oversight as we look at these things over the next seven years.”

The incentives in the deal will have oversight by at least 24 owners on various committees, including the finance and broadcast committees.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank says Jones has had no impact on the contract structure. But this is more oversight and incentive-based than Goodell's previous deal. And it does fall in line with Jones’ key points through the process that the owners should have more power and input over the commissioner.

The biggest win in the process is that the commissioner will no longer get to hand-pick the chairman of the compensation committee in charge of negotiating his contract.

In March, the league is expected to change the bylaws, giving the owners power to vote on the compensation committee.

Jones and Blank shook hands and made some peace on Wednesday, which is significant considering the Falcons owner admittedly went out of his way not to exchange pleasantries with his counterpart before a game between the two teams in Atlanta on Nov. 12.

“I’ve got a great respect for Jerry,” Blank said. “I spoke to him ... on the phone about a week and a half ago. 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 played because I didn’t think it was the right setting.

“We were not necessarily connected totally on how this process should have been handled. I don’t know that there’s a rift going forward. 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.”

Jones began working to address how the commissioner's contract was handled and get the league out of the player investigations for more than a year.

But his angst with Goodell intensified when Elliott's suspension was announced Aug. 11 after he was told by the commissioner that there would be no discipline in the case. Elliott was never charged or arrested in the case.

Jones' viewed the suspension as a breach of trust.

Elliott avoided the suspension for the first eight games of the season through court proceedings before being forced off the field.

Clarence Hill: 817-390-7760, @clarencehilljr

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