“Don’t F**k With Me” | Jerry Jones Lets Robert Kraft Know Who’s The Boss In The NFL Ownership Ranks

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The peek behind the veil of NFL ownership is occurring more frequently now. The latest relationship tension being exposed is between uber NFL team owners Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft amid votes on current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

On Tuesday, the 32 team owners voted 31-1 to allow their compensation committee to open negotiations on a new contract with commissioner Roger Goodell. However, the two most powerful owners in the league of the storied New England Patriots and wealthy Dallas Cowboys, had a heated exchange, per reports.

With the Cowboys’ Jones reportedly as the lone owner opposed amongst the other owners, the word is that the formidable Texas former oil tycoon told Pats owner Robert Kraft, “Don’t f**k with me.”

Kraft allegedly replied, “Excuse me?” with Jones modifying his approach with a reported, “Don’t mess with me.”

Amid the mess, the measure still passed, but the rumors of tension in the room now circulate. The near-unanimous 31-1 vote denotes that ownership wants Goodell to stay in his role, and reports are that the committee will consider a two- to three-year deal for Goodell.

Having been on the job since 2006, Goodell has wanted to continue as NFL commissioner. Jerry Jones seems concerned that the stimuli for Goodell’s suggested bonus pool in his new contract are too vague and not attached to a stringent set of financial objectives and metrics without a more rigorous assessment, per reports.

“He believes in corporate good governance and wants accountability on the financial goals tied to Roger’s bonus,” a league source familiar with Jones’ thinking told ESPN. “He is sensitive to awarding a big bonus to Roger before he performs and earns it.” Jones has believed that Goodell’s financial targets were too “vague” in the past.

In the past, Jones has been vocally opposed to a new contract for the 63-year-old Goodell based on Goodell’s compensation structure. Goodell signed a new five-year deal in 2017 that differed from his previous agreements. Jones was at the helm of a plan that restructured Goodell’s contract from mostly salaried to primarily performance-based bonuses. In the NFL, decisions are made by numerous committees composed of owners who determine whether they feel Goodell has met predetermined goals and targets.

Recently, there has been a lot of chatter among the owners about ousting Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay recently pierced the veil of silence on this sensitive topic when he held an interview scrum at the fall meetings on Tuesday, calling Snyder’s blunders as the owner of the Commanders, in particular the workplace misconduct allegations, “gravely concerning.”

“I believe there is merit to removing him as owner of the [Commanders],” Irsay said from the Conrad New York Downtown hotel lobby. “There’s consideration that he should be removed.”

The NFL requires 24 of its 32 owners to approve a vote to cast out an owner, which has never been done in the NFL.

Since Goodell’s last re-sign, he has helped usher in a new 10-year collective bargaining agreement with the players union. He persuaded the NFL Players Association to agree to a 17th game and helped steward the league during the COVID-19 pandemic.

His new and existing long-term broadcast deals are worth over $100 billion. Jones and Kraft might not have a deeper issue, but the NFL owners’ inner workings are being understood more and more.

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. RhettĀ hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.