Commissioner Roger Goodell is on track to maintain his prominent place at the table for the next round of collective bargaining between NFL owners and players, a process that's sure to be contentious.
The league is working on a five-year contract extension for Goodell, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal is not complete. Sports Business Journal first reported the contract negotiations.
Goodell's contract is up after the 2019 season. The new deal would go through 2024. The current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2020 season.
Goodell replaced Paul Tagliabue as commissioner in 2006. He earned just over $31 million for the 2015 season, down from about $34 million in 2014. Because the league office is no longer classified as a tax-exempt organization , the commissioner's salary is no longer required to be made public through tax filings. In 2013, he made $35 million. In 2012, he collected $44.2 million.
Though TV ratings were down 8 percent last year and concerns about concussions have not subsided , NFL revenues have been steadily on the rise during Goodell's tenure, $13 billion at last report. New stadiums, with significant public contributions, have continued to open across the league.
Though conflict has surfaced at times with individual owners, notably New England's Bob Kraft in response to discipline for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for the deflated footballs scandal, Goodell has clearly overseen enough success to gain the trust of the clubs. The move toward this extension signaled as much. There's another labor feud looming, with the potential for a lockout or a strike in 2021 , so the owners will need faith in their leadership.
While Goodell's job comes with a natural dose of divisiveness, he has become the face of player discontent with the league's discipline system. Goodell came under heavy criticism in 2014 for decisions in the Ray Rice case, with other high-profile incidents involving Adrian Peterson and Kevin Hardy drawing the league negative headlines throughout the season that exacerbated tension between owners and players.
Goodell's recent decision to suspend Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games in a case of alleged domestic violence has sparked anew the sniping between the league office and the NFL Players Association.
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed to this report.
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