It was announced yesterday that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had agreed to a five-year contract extension with the owners. None of the contract details were shared, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting what everyone probably already assumed: Roger Goodell will make so much goddamn money.
Since the NFL is no longer tax-exempt, Goodell’s salary is not a matter of public record. The last time it was, back in 2015, he made $32 million in a year. According to Schefter, this new contract will bump him up to $40 million per year. There does seem to be one slight catch, though, as most of the money will be paid out in bonuses approved by the owners:
The base salary of the new contract is in the single-digit millions, a source had told Schefter. Roughly 85 percent of the total potential compensation package is from bonuses, which would be subject to ownership approval and validation.
It’s possible that the owners could deny Goodell most of his money due to poor job performance, but if they were willing to give him an extension this year despite everything that’s gone on during his tenure—declining ratings, the Los Angeles relocation disasters, his repeated failures to enforce the personal conduct policy in a coherent way, the concussion controversy, the replacement refs, Ballghazi, getting publicly clowned by Donald Trump—it’s hard to imagine them coming up with a convincing reason not to pay out the full contract in the future.
One thing to keep an eye on is how players react to news of Goodell’s extension. Maybe I’m reading too far into things, but it seems that the players have never been more dissatisfied with the state of Goodell’s NFL than they are right now. The anthem protests are an obvious sign, but so is Mike Mitchell ranting about fines in the context of CBA imbalance. This is a league without guaranteed contracts that has a commissioner making far more money than even the best players, and now seems like a less than ideal time for the NFL to remind players of that fact:
The current CBA doesn’t expire until after the 2020 season, meaning the players will have plenty of time to stew over this. But when the time comes, they can and should be pointing at the size of Goodell’s slice when asking for a bigger share of the pie.