Roger Goodell is flexing his muscles on Jerry Jones.
The NFL Commissioner plans to demand the Dallas Cowboys owner pay millions of dollars in legal fees the league and its competition committee incurred after Jones hired a lawyer in an attempt to sabotage Goodell’s contract negotiations and for his outspoken defense of running back Ezekiel Elliott during a heated legal battle over his suspension last season, according to a New York Times report.
Goodell is expected to issue the punishment within the next few weeks, citing Jones for conduct detrimental to the league.
Goodell was reluctant about punishing Jones, according to the report, but was urged to do so by other owners after they felt the Cowboys owner crossed a line.
Jones hired David Boies, a high-profile lawyer, in November and threatened to sue the six owners of the league’s compensation committee, comprised of the Chiefs, Falcons, Giants, Steelers, Patriots and Texans owners, to stop them from finalizing Goodell’s contract extension — something they had been working on for months to complete.
Jones was also vocal in his defense of Elliott, whom he said did not deserve to be penalized after the NFL suspended the running back six games for domestic violence allegations.
The Cowboys owner argued the alleged incident occurred prior to the start of Elliott’s NFL career and that the league could not suspend him. He also reportedly tried to influence one of the league’s top investigators during the back-and-forth legal battle, which went through several appeals before Elliott was finally suspended.
During the course of Elliott’s appeals process, Jones — a nonvoting member of the compensation committee — was already attempting to persuade league owners to not be so generous with Goodell’s contract extension.
Jones believed Goodell, who was guaranteed 12 percent of compensation with the rest being determined by meeting specific financial targets, was being overpaid.
Some owners were reportedly on board with Jones but withdrew their support after Jones hired Boies and threatened to take the other owners to court shortly after Elliott lost his final appeal.
Jones’ threat thrusted Goodell’s contract extension into the limelight and became a public talking point.
He eventually backed away from the threat, but it did not sit well with other owners and Jones was chided by some at a league meeting in Texas in December.
Goodell’s contract extension was finalized at the same league meeting, extending him as commissioner for five years and with the potential to earn up to $200 million.
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