Roger Goodell and NFL owners are expected to finalize a multiyear contract extension for the commissioner at next week’s owners meetings in Phoenix, league sources told ESPN.
The NFL’s compensation committee is slated to present the proposed extension to team owners during a special privileged session Tuesday afternoon. Only one member from each team is permitted in that meeting.
Goodell’s extension has been in the works since last season, when the compensation committee was granted permission by the full membership to get an extension done, according to sources. The sides have discussed a three-year extension, according to sources, but no length of time has been agreed to yet.
The NFL has declined to comment.
The economic framework of Goodell’s new deal is not known but is expected to be incentive-laden and, considering the league’s financial success, the most lucrative deal ever given to any commissioner in any sport.
This is the fourth extension for Goodell, who took over for Paul Tagliabue on Sept. 1, 2006; the previous extensions came in 2009, 2012 and 2017.
The process leading to this extension appears to have gone considerably more smoothly than the last one in 2017, when Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened a lawsuit before the league eventually fined him for his legal threats. That deal took effect in 2019.
Since then, Goodell has helped finalize a collective bargaining agreement that has brought continued labor peace and new $100-plus billion media rights deals with CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN and Amazon that makes the NFL the envy of other leagues. The NFL also has a multibillion dollar streaming deals with YouTube for its Sunday Ticket package of games.
Additionally, the NFL played its full slate of games during the COVID-19 pandemic, with players receiving 100% of their compensation, which has not been lost on owners during this push to finalize Goodell’s extension, according to sources.
NFL owners also have 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.
Goodell’s tenure has not been without controversy, however. Player safety, particularly concussions, has been a constant issue, 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 final one — that once he helped negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement in 2020 and media rights deals in 2021, he would step away. But Goodell loves his job, and league insiders say he is not ready to step aside.
Goodell is 64, and some believe this will be his final deal with the NFL. Former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle stepped down from the job when he was 63, and Tagliabue walked away when he was 65. Goodell is a known fitness fanatic and his stamina belies his age.
Once this extension is finalized, however, the coming years also are expected to bring an increasing emphasis on identifying potential candidates to be Goodell’s successor.
Internal candidates could include chief media & business officer Brian Rolapp, executive vice president/football operations Troy Vincent, chief administrator of football operations Dawn Aponte, executive vice president/club business and league events Peter O’Reilly and chief revenue officer Renie Anderson.
Candidates from outside the league office could include Chicago Bears president Kevin Warren and Los Angeles Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff.