Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank explains Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’s role in Roger Goodell’s deal


Jerry Jones didn’t have a role in increasing the percentage of Roger Goodell’s contract that isn’t guaranteed, Arthur Blank said Wednesday.

Blank, the chairman of the NFL’s compensation committee and the Atlanta Falcons‘ owner, said Jones did, however, have input on possible changes to how the compensation committee is put together.

Jones, the Dallas Cowboys‘ owner/general manager, had submitted a resolution allowing him to address Goodell’s contract and raise his concerns about the deal with his fellow owners at Wednesday’s meeting.

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said Wednesday that 90 percent of Goodell’s contract will be incentive based, which he said was an increase in nonguaranteed income over previous deals. Lockhart confirmed that Goodell sees the contract as his final one overseeing the NFL, a sentiment previously reported by ESPN.

If Roger comes in and knocks it out of the ballpark, he’ll really be rewarded,” Jones told USA TODAY Sports on Wednesday. “You’ve got to hope that he has that kind of performance.

“There are no easy lay-ups here on his bonuses. He’s got to come in there and lead the division in high scoring.”

Blank said Jones’ thoughts on how the compensation committee is constituted have been considered by the committee in the past — such as how the chairman and co-chairman is appointed and what role ownership has in how the committee members cycle off. He said the committee will discuss the recommendations at next year’s annual meeting.

When the Cowboys and Falcons played last month in Atlanta, the respective owners skipped their customary pre-game talk on the field. On Wednesday, Blank was asked if his relationship with Jones had changed.

“I’ve got a great respect for Jerry,” Blank said. “I spoke to him … on the phone about a week and a half ago. It was a very good conversation. I thanked him, which I didn’t get a chance to do, or chose not to do really, the time we played because I didn’t think it was the right setting.”

Blank said the committee’s handling of Goodell’s extension was the most transparent he has seen in 35 years, going back to the tenures of Tagliabue and Pete Rozelle. Blank said owners were updated in general meetings and with multiple phone calls.

“We were not necessarily connected totally on how this process should have been handled,” Blank said of his relationship with Jones. “We went to great lengths to make sure we were completely transparent.”

Jones’ dispute with Goodell surfaced in reports after the commissioner suspended star Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games over alleged domestic violence in a case prosecutors in Ohio didn’t pursue. Jones has denied the suspension was the impetus for his objections over the contract.

“I don’t know that there’s a rift going forward,” Blank said. “I think that Jerry, he loves the league, he loves the Cowboys, he’s very passionate about issues that he cares deeply about, which is great. I think it’s important to have different voices in the room.”

Jones has been a vocal advocate of delaying Goodell’s extension, complaining about the high price tag of the deal and his view that there has been a lack of transparency by Blank in negotiating it.

In early November, Jones hired famed attorney David Boies as a threat to sue the league if the compensation committee approved Goodell’s extension, an extension that all owners, including Jones, authorized in May. No suit was ever brought.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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