On Wednesday afternoon, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell inked a mammoth new contract that will keep him in charge of professional football through the year 2023. The deal will pay him $200 million (!) if he hits all his incentives and gets all his bonuses, which means that Goodell will make about $40 million annually moving forward.

It is worth noting that Goodell's contract will largely be tied to bonuses and incentives according to most reports, including this one from ESPN's Adam Schefter. In fact, he could "only" make in the single digits in millions (which is a fun thing to say) when it comes to his base compensation package. 

Goodell's deal was set to expire after the 2018 season and there had been some serious public animosity about the new extension, with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones even threatening to sue the league if the compensation committee handed Goodell a new contract. Jones, presumably, remained non-thrilled by Goodell suspending Ezekiel Elliott for six games

Maybe Goodell's contract is like a real NFL contract and a large chunk of the money in it is impossible to achieve. Let's not pretend he isn't going to end up making a nice chunk of change, however. Goodell reeled in $32 million in 2015, a six percent cut from his more than $34 million salary in 2014. If he's making a minimal amount as base compensation, it's at least possible that Jerry got his way to a degree.

Given that it's being reported like a fully-guaranteed contract (a.k.a. a free-agency deal), let's just go ahead and imagine that the commissioner does hit every single incentive in his contract. In that event, he would make around $40 million per year. And let's go ahead and compare it to player contracts. Don't tell me that it's not reasonable. It's perfectly reasonable. You're being unreasonable.

Compare Goodell's $200 million windfall over the five years of his new deal with the players to make the most money all-time in career earnings (per Spotrac):

NamePosCareer earnings
Peyton ManningQB$248,732,000
Eli ManningQB$219,280,004
Tom BradyQB$197,166,804
Drew BreesQB$194,710,422
Philip RiversQB$187,917,656
Carson PalmerQB$174,148,722
Ben RoethlisbergerQB$170,286,864
Matthew StaffordQB$161,778,969
Julius PeppersDE$159,723,786
Larry FitzgeraldWR$151,296,387

Goodell has shepherded a billion-dollar business to a point where it is more profitable than ever before. The CEO of said business should get paid handsomely. But let's not pretend that Goodell is more valuable to football over the next five years than Tom Brady and Drew Brees have been over their entire careers. Executives will almost always make more than the guys in the line of fire, but that doesn't mean it should feel right that Goodell will make more from 2018 through 2023 than Hall of Fame quarterbacks made between 2001 and 2017. That's wild. 

Now let's compare it to the 2018 salary of some notable quarterbacks -- the highest-paid guys in football typically -- and see how Goodell stacks up.


Team, Position

2018 Salary

Roger Goodell

NFL, Commissioner

$40 million*

Matthew Stafford

Lions, QB

$26.5 million

Tom Brady

Patriots, QB

$22 million

Aaron Rodgers

Packers, QB

$20.9 million

Kirk Cousins

Redskins, QB

$34.5 million**

* With incentives
** If given the franchise tag

So a couple of takeaways here. One, Roger Goodell, if he maxes out his contract bonuses and incentives, will make more in 2018 than Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady. Unless the Packers rework Aaron Rodgers' deal, Goodell will make more than Rodgers too. 

Even if the Redskins give Kirk Cousins a third-straight franchise tag -- an unprecedented move for any team but a likelihood this year -- Goodell would still make more than $5 million north of what Cousins would make playing on a one-year contract for the third year in a row.

I'm actually one of the people who think Goodell gets a bit of a bad rap for the actual importance of his job at this point; he manages to get all 32 NFL owners on the same page when it comes to negotiating television contracts and working out a collective bargaining agreement. His job looks easy from outside, but let's not act like some random dude is going to handle his gig. 

Still, it's pretty absurd that he is going to make more money than Rodgers and Brady -- arguably the two most marketable starts in the NFL -- in 2018. Long live capitalism.