The NFL is not planning for all owners to vote again on Commissioner Roger Goodell’s pending contract extension, according to multiple people familiar with the deliberations.
Such a vote is being sought by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who opposes completion of the extension and seeks to have its terms considered by all owners via another ratification vote.
But the league and the compensation committee are sticking to the contention that no further voting is necessary after the owners voted, 32-0, during their May meeting in Chicago to authorize the committee, led by Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, to negotiate the extension with Goodell.
“There’s no basis for another vote,” the owner of one team said.
Two other people with knowledge of the league’s inner workings also said there are no plans for another vote, adding that owners will be kept informed of the compensation committee’s negotiations with Goodell and will have the opportunity to seek any further details they might want.
The owners are scheduled to meet Dec. 12-13 in Dallas. Goodell’s extension could be completed before or during that meeting.
Jones wrote Thursday to Goodell seeking to have a special owners’ meeting scheduled for Nov. 28 in New York. That request was rejected by the compensation committee, according to a person close to the situation.
In Jones’s letter to Goodell, he wrote that a meeting was needed to address the negotiation of Goodell’s contract extension, oversight of the compensation committee and a date for all owners to vote on Goodell’s contract.
Jones, in his letter, cited threats of discipline against him and wrote: “Such severe threats of retaliation further demonstrate the dysfunction of the current process, and show the danger of reposing excessive power in a single executive position or committee where an owner’s right to his franchise is threatened simply because he questions the negotiation process of a compensation package.”
A letter from an outside attorney for the NFL to Jones’s lawyer, David Boies, accused Jones of engaging in conduct detrimental to the league. Jones could be penalized by a fine, suspension or the loss of a Cowboys draft pick or picks if found guilty.
The NFL will not attempt to strip the Cowboys, estimated to be worth more than $4 billion, from Jones, according to one owner and others close to the situation. That owner said this week that speculation about the possibility of forcing Jones to sell his team is “ridiculous” and the league will not make such an effort.
Jones hired Boies and told members of the compensation committee, on which he had served as a nonvoting member, that he was considering a lawsuit against Goodell’s five-year extension, which would run through 2024.
Some owners believe Jones’s opposition to Goodell’s deal is based entirely on his anger over the league’s six-game suspension of Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott under the personal conduct policy. Jones has denied that, contending that his stance on Goodell’s contract is not related to Elliott’s suspension and saying he is expressing concerns on behalf of all owners about the deal with Goodell. He wrote in his letter to Goodell that making such a financial commitment to Goodell is not justified based on the NFL’s current financial performance and situation.
Jones has maintained that all owners, not only those on the six-member compensation committee, should have a direct say in the contract and that there is no rush for the owners to complete an extension with Goodell since his current deal is in place until 2019.
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