Jerry Jones reportedly 'impeding' Roger Goodell contract talks, wants 'big reduction'

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is reportedly doing his best to slow down Roger Goodell's latest contract negotiations, adding another awkward twist in the saga involving the Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott and the NFL.

Just a few weeks ago, it was reported that Goodell and the NFL owners were close to a contract extension that would lock Goodell in through 2024. Goodell has since been at the center of punishing Ezekiel Elliott, and Jones has since, according to a report from Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN, gotten heavily involved with the contract talks and begun "impeding" them. 

A source told Schefter that "if it weren't for Jerry's involvement, Goodell's extension by now could be done." 

Mortensen expanded on that idea, noting that Jones has essentially become a "de facto" seventh member of the Compensation Committee (which negotiates with Goodell to work out a new deal) and has pushed forward the idea that Goodell is "paid way too much money." 

"In Jones' case, according to a source, he believes he is representing the other owners," Mortensen said. "And he believes this thing needs a lot of discussion before they just give him a contract, it's got to be a big reduction, he's made over $200 million since he became commissioner in 2006."

The NFL enjoys tax-exempt status as a non-profit, so Goodell's salary ends up becoming public each year. Goodell was paid more than $44 million in 2012paid $35.1 million in 2013, took a slight dip down to $34.1 million in 2014 and took a big old six-percent paycut back in 2015

Jones is, by many accounts, one of the most influential owners in the NFL. And Mortensen reports that his influence is working in the Goodell situation because while some members of the Competition Committee are "optimistic that a new proposal" for Goodell's contract will emerge from an upcoming conference call, "there are others who say there's no way a new proposal emerges" from that call. 

This cannot be a coincidence: Goodell was rumored to be getting a monster extension on August 21, just nine days after he suspended Elliott for six games, and several days before Elliott had an appeal hearing and eventually sued the NFL. 

Don't forget that Jones looked bad after the initial suspension because he was swearing up and down that he believed Elliott would be cleared when it came to the punishment handed down by the league. Jones was reportedly "furious" when he learned of the punishment.

This marks the third straight year in which Goodell has tangled with a prominent player on the team of a highly-influential owner. The last two seasons saw Goodell going toe-to-toe against Tom Brady and the Patriots in the court of law. Robert Kraft still believes the Pats got a raw deal and says he and Goodell have a "business" relationship at this point. 

Mortensen reported that he was told Jones has "stepped on the toes" of some influential owners of the past years and it might be starting to catch up with him. The question is how contentious these negotiations get. Goodell has made a lot of money over the past several years -- more in his time running the NFL than Brady has in his years with the Pats. He could probably make "only" $25 million a year and be just fine, although the pride factor in having his salary slashed might be a problem there. 

Goodell wields a lot of power, but there might not be a more powerful person in the NFL than Jerry Jones. These are high-level power plays being made here. Perhaps it's possible/likely that Jones' influence got cranked up a notch when the NFL decided to start pressuring the court system to rule on Elliott's case as soon as next week. This situation could easily continue to escalate.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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