Another owner said the extension is basically in order and should be completed soon, adding, “It’s a matter of weeks.”
Goodell, 64, has nearly completed the deal with those owners on the NFL’s compensation committee. But the extension did not become official Tuesday as the owners completed their spring meeting.
“When it’s extended, we’ll let you know,” Goodell said at a news conference. “It’s not extended today, that’s for sure. But, listen, I’ve been focused on other matters. It hasn’t been a point of focus for me. I have a year left. I told you before: I love this job. I have no doubt that we’ll reach … that point at some point.”
Goodell’s contract expires in March.
“Basically I think it’s just dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s, but it’s done through roughly March 2027,” Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said. “That’s always good news. I think we still have to rubber-stamp it, so to speak, but it’s virtually done.”
The owners previously had authorized the compensation committee to complete the deal with Goodell.
The financial terms of the pending extension were not available. The deal nearly was completed by the annual league meeting in March in Phoenix. But the owners did not finalize the extension by that meeting, pointing to this meeting instead as the likely target.
The owners elected Goodell in 2006 to succeed Paul Tagliabue. Joe Lockhart, then the NFL’s top spokesman, said in December 2017 that Goodell intended to retire by the completion of his contract in 2024. But Goodell said that day he had not made a decision, declining to confirm those retirement plans.
His new extension would extend his run as commissioner beyond his 68th birthday. There is no known opposition among the owners to this extension. In 2017, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed opposition to that contract extension for Goodell.
“He’s done so much for the league with stability. … It’s a tough job,” Irsay said. “But he’s been a hard worker and worked very hard for the NFL and for its success and is just a good man through and through. … It gives us some time before TV and labor [deals come] up again as well as looking at what direction we want to go. I really believe we have to look at the whole aspect of the structure. It could be where you have a CEO of business and … you have a commissioner of football.”
Goodell said of such consideration of modifying the job beyond his tenure, “It’s a healthy discussion to have.”
Jones said Tuesday of Goodell’s new deal: “We will let them announce that. I think there’s an announcement coming right up.”
The owners also voted Tuesday to approve a rule-change proposal to spot the ball at the 25-yard line on a fair catch of a kickoff made inside the 25. The measure represents another step by the league and its competition committee to attempt to make kickoffs safer.
“At the end of the day, health and safety drives decisions like this,” said Falcons CEO Rich McKay, chairman of the competition committee.
League leaders have said injury data has shown special teams plays are far more dangerous than plays from scrimmage.
“We want to keep it in the game,” McKay said of the kickoff. “I don’t know that we know we can keep it in the game. … We’ve just got to find ways to make the play safer.”
The owners put aside that proposal without a resolution at their March meeting but revisited it over this two-day meeting.