IRVING, Texas — The five-year extension Roger Goodell signed last week likely will be his last contract as NFL commissioner. The deal, worth up to $200 million if he reaches all his incentives, will take him through the 2023 season, after which another commissioner is expected to be named.
“The commissioner has made clear that he views this as his last contract and will allow him to deal with some of the important issues that he knows are on the horizon — the Collective Bargaining Agreement, our network partner contracts,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said.
Goodell, 58, declined to say this would be his final contract but did acknowledge “there is a limit on how many years you should serve.” His predecessor, Paul Tagliabue, was commissioner for 17 years. If Goodell were to retire after his new deal expired, he would have served for 18 years. Two owners familiar with the negotiations confirmed that he plans to step down when the contract runs out in March 2024, when he would be 65.
“He kind of made that clear during the early part of the negotiations,” said Giants president and co-owner John Mara, a member of the NFL’s compensation committee that negotiated Goodell’s agreement.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank, chairman of the compensation committee, said the handling of Goodell’s extension was a fair process, despite the frequent objections of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Jones had attempted to delay the contract in hopes of convincing owners at Wednesday’s annual December meeting to revisit the compensation, which he thought was too high. After Goodell spoke to reporters, Jones told them he believes he has created a more workable system for agreeing on future contracts and that owners will look at changing various aspects of the league’s constitution and bylaws.
“This bunch is the most qualified people I know to set the course . . . for the future of this league,” Jones said. “That’s going to take some constitutional changes . . . We’re doing a lot of things good, but there’s some areas we need to change. It’s an antiquated constitution, an antiquated situation as to the power of the commissioner, (and) this will address that.”