Lions on Goodell extension: ‘Can’t knock him’

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Allen Park — Roger Goodell got his payday when he signed a five-year contract extension Wednesday to remain the commissioner of the NFL through 2024.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell received a contract extension through 2024 reportedly worth $200 million.

The deal is reportedly worth $200 million — roughly $40 million annually — with the bulk of the compensation coming from bonuses.

While several NFL players didn’t hide their feelings on Twitter about the news and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones led a failed crusade against it, the rich contract didn’t cause much of an uproar in the Lions locker room.

“I think next to the Amazon job it's the most coveted job in the United States,” veteran safety and special teams ace Don Carey said Friday after practice. “The owners thought enough of the man to pay him that much money so, hey, I can't knock him.”

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But not everyone sees it that way. Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas took exception to the lucrative figure and tweeted, “Tom Brady makes $20.5mm per year; @nflcommish makes $40mm per year. So does that mean that Roger Goodell is twice as valuable to the NFL and twice as hard to replace?”

Under the new deal, Goodell makes over $10 million more annually than the highest-paid players in the league. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford tops the list at $27 million per year, followed by Raiders quarterback Derek Carr ($25M), Colts quarterback Andrew Luck ($24.6M), Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer ($24.4M) and Saints quarterback Drew Brees ($24.3M).

“That amount of money is obviously crazy but that's an entirely different situation than anything we're facing,” Carey said. “If any player has an attitude or problem with that, they probably just don't like the dude. I can't say that as a guarantee or know that for sure but that's my speculation. Heck, if I was in his position and I was able to land a $200-million-plus contract, too, I'd take that.”

Lions defensive end Dwight Freeney said he won’t judge Goodell and his contract because he doesn’t know what he has to go through on a daily basis.

“He has a job to do to manage all 32 teams so they (owners) can dictate how much percent of what they're going to give him to keep the league the way that they want,” Freeney said. “You could complain about it all you want. Yeah, he's not playing, but that being said he is the commissioner. He is the head of the NFL. It is what it is.”

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However, Goodell’s guaranteed salary before bonuses will be roughly $4 million per year, which has struck a nerve since most players are playing under non-guaranteed contracts while risking injury on the field.

“Wonder if he had to fight for guaranteed (money)?! No just football players hmmm…#skimaskthebag,” Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan tweeted.

Freeney noted it’s unfortunate that the only thing guaranteed in the league is that you’re going to get hurt. He added when the time comes to renegotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, the union needs to stand firm on having guaranteed contracts like any other sport and business.

But until then, Freeney and his teammates have other matters to take care of.

“We got bigger things to worry about,” Freeney said. “We got to worry about winning the next three, four games. He made a lot of money before and now he makes more, great."