The highest paid person in the NFL is not a star quarterback or all-pro wide receiver. It is the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell. He agreed Wednesday to a five-year, $200 million contract extension.
If bonuses and incentives are met it comes to $40 million annually.
Goodell has not been a friend to the sportsbetting community. He has opposed overturning the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) and when the league owners voted 31-1 to approve the Raiders move from Oakland to Las Vegas on March 27 he warned of the dangers of gambling.
While the owners and the public didn’t have an issue with a team in Las Vegas, Goodell stood firm on his opposition to wagering on sports.
“I would probably tell you that I think society has probably had a little bit of a change with respect to gambling in general,” he said after the vote. “I think we still strongly oppose it in that room, and otherwise, legalized sports gambling. The integrity of our game is No. 1. We will not compromise on that.”
Highest Paid Executive
Goodell’s newest salary is a $10 million a year raise and is substantially more than similar positions. He also negotiated a private plane to use for life.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and his counterpart for MLB, Rob Manfred make approximately $20 million, while the NHL’s top man, Gary Bettman, takes home $9.6 million.
Not only is Goodell the highest paid executive, his salary dwarfs any of the players he oversees. The top salary for a player is Detroit Lion’s quarterback Matt Stafford, who signed a $135 million, five-year deal in August.
Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank is the Compensation Committee Chairman and told Sports Illustrated’s Peter King that the deal was completed Wednesday.
“I’m feeling relieved now,” Blank, the owner of the Falcons, said in an interview from Atlanta. “I’m happy that it’s over. I was just telling Roger that in the history of the NFL, I’m not sure a big decision has been so transparent as this one. We got a lot of input from a lot of owners, a lot of guidance from them, and we feel very good about what developed out of that.”
One Owner Not Happy
One person who was not overjoyed about the extension was Dallas Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones. He believed that there were issues that the commissioner had fumbled and that they needed to be addressed.
One was his handling of the player’s kneeling during the National Anthem. Jones was a critic of how he perceived Goodell’s handling of the issue, which he said damaged the league’s image and cost them advertisers.
One anonymous owner though said Jones’ motivation for his criticism was the six-game suspension he handed out to one of his players. Ezekiel Elliott was ordered to sit out six games because of an alleged domestic violence incident with a former girlfriend.
The second-year running back was not arrested or charged, however, and Jones thought the sentence was unfair to the former Ohio State star.