It’s all about the Cowboys these days.
Just as Jones likes it.
Jones certainly wants Elliott in the Cowboys’ lineup rather than sitting out and serving his suspension. And Jones and his associates maintain that his campaign against Goodell’s pending five-year contract extension with the owners stems from a legitimate business concern about Goodell’s compensation and the degree of input that all of the owners, not only those on the six-member compensation committee, have into the commissioner’s contract.
Some other owners believe Jones’s opposition amounts to little more than a temper tantrum over Elliott’s suspension. Jones and his associates dispute that, contending the two issues are separate.
Either way, it’s also true that Jones comes from the “all publicity is good publicity” school of public-relations thought. Having the public talking all Cowboys, all the time is a good thing, in his view. Even those people who believe that Elliott’s suspension is justified and that Jones has no business trying to stop Goodell’s extension are talking about Jones, Elliott and the Cowboys.
There are some in and around the league who believe that there is an element of showmanship to what Jones is doing. Jones is, in their view, communicating to Cowboys fans that he’s really angry about Elliott and he’s not just sitting around doing nothing.
“He’s just using every vehicle he can to express his displeasure,” one person familiar with the league’s inner workings said last week. “It’s just like Bob Kraft. … A lot of it is just exaggerated from the owner to his own fans. They leak it … and they want their own fans to say, ‘Look, he’s mad and he’s doing something about it.’ Then they get back together with the group and everything is fine. Look, Charlotte is the head of the Foundation. Stephen is on the competition committee. Jerry just got the draft.”
That person was referring to the position that Jones’s daughter, Charlotte Jones-Anderson, has with the NFL Foundation and to Jones’s son, Stephen, being on the NFL’s powerful, rulemaking competition committee, in addition to the 2018 NFL draft being held in Dallas.
“Do you think Jerry would have gotten the draft if there was really a problem?” that person said. “The idea that things are bad with Jerry and Roger is exaggerated, even more exaggerated than Robert [Kraft] and Roger.”
But while Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, expressed his displeasure publicly with Goodell and the league office over the Deflategate scandal, Kraft said publicly he would not take legal action.
It is not a universally held belief that any of Jones’s campaigning against Goodell’s contract is for show. There also are those who believe that Jones is intent upon trying to get the votes among the owners that he would need to oust Goodell from office.
“He’s trying to get the 24 votes now,” another person familiar with the situation said in recent days.
The owners’ compensation committee intends to complete its contract extension with Goodell, according to several people with knowledge of the committee’s deliberations. Committee members are scheduled to speak Monday via conference call.
What happens after that is unclear. The league maintains that no further vote of the owners is required after they voted, 32-0, in May to authorize the compensation committee to negotiate an extension with Goodell. Jones contends that the owners, all of the owners, must vote again on the deal and could make changes or reject the terms of the extension.
“He continues to say he’s for Roger,” a high-ranking official with one NFL team said last week. “He claims he still wants to extend Roger. But in my opinion, he’s trying to make the terms [of the contract extension] untenable for Roger.”
It also has become Jones vs. Falcons owner Arthur Blank, the chairman of the compensation committee, in addition to Jones vs. Goodell, after a letter sent from the Cowboys’ counsel to an attorney for the NFL and some owners last week said that Jones believes Blank misled owners about the negotiations on Goodell’s extension.
The person with knowledge of the league’s inner workings said the tension between Blank, the co-founder of Home Depot, and Jones is not brand new.
“Arthur has this reputation among the owners for always talking about Home Depot: ‘It’s a big business and we need to run the NFL like it’s a big business,’ ” the person said. “And here’s Jerry, who basically runs everything right out of his back pocket.”
It will make for an intriguing Sunday afternoon in Atlanta when Jones’s Cowboys face Blank’s Falcons.
It will make for an intriguing next few weeks and, possibly, next few months.
And Jones and the Cowboys will be at the center of it all — the way Jones likes it.
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