Goodell cashes in for owners with CBA, now cashes in

by | CBSSports.com National Columnist
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Will Roger Goodell be around when the labor deal expires in 2020? It doesn't matter at the moment. (AP)  
Will Roger Goodell be around when the labor deal expires in 2020? It doesn't matter at the moment. (AP)  

Roger Goodell just got his deal redone by the NFL owners, and now he can pretend to be their master to the terminally naïve until 2019. Or, more like, until they extend him again in 2015 to 2023.

But some questions naturally crop up here, and while you may think they are about job performance issues, they really aren't.

First, extending Goodell three years before his current deal ends is a bit of a wonderment for one reason -- what leverage does he have? Are there other commissioner's jobs out there? Is Don Garber thinking about quitting MLS, and Goodell was thinking about a new challenge? Did he get a whiff of Bud Selig's deal and start making noise about pay equity?

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I mean, these owners are supposed to be such crack negotiators and masters of the hardball, but for the guy they control easiest and best, they need to lock him up three years before he goes nowhere else? I mean, seriously? This is his dream job, the one he's been training for since he was running the copying machine for the Jets -- he's in a hurry to leave?

But if you find that argument facetious, how about this -- he just finished playing point on the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, the one that expires after the 2020 season, so why would you pick a date for the expiration of the contract extension that comes just as negotiations/recriminations/backstabbing/threats begin in earnest? Or a year after the renegotiation window opens after the 2017 season? Does that makes sense either?

Of course not. So what's so magic about March 31, 2019? Nothing. It's a date apparently picked at random, for no discernible reason, and you know how we love explanations.

So the actual explanation for this must be even more involved. They gave him an extension they didn't need to, and placed the new expiration date with a dart.

Again, this isn't really a referendum on Goodell's job. He has served the owners well, which is the only measuring stick for any commissioner as long as the owners are the only ones paying him. Besides, the rules for Cecil Fielder apply to other employees -- in the marketplace you're worth whatever the guys with the money say you're worth.

So he cashed in. Swell. No outrage. No burning issue.

We're just fixating momentarily on the end date for the extension because it's not quite Super Bowl Week, and no story is too silly between now and next Monday. And if there is a slow day between now and game day, maybe they can extend him again. Maybe getting him through the next CBA would be a nice way to say, "Good job, Red. We liked what you did to the union, and we'd like you to do it again."

It's just we'd all like to think that a contract should be signed, renewed and end at a logical point in time, for an understandable purpose. And we are evidently wrong. This was just something for the fellas to do on a slow day, because it wasn't like they were worried Goodell would start blowing off comp days.

Or maybe they were just amused by the fact that Selig "retires" and then "unretires" and they'd like not to have to ride that hamster wheel with Goodell. So they just toss off an extension every few years before he starts thinking that Bud's a guy to emulate.

Especially since Selig makes twice as much as Goodell. Now THAT would be a dealbreaker.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for Comcast Sports Bay Area (CSNBayArea.com)

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