Just as their two teams prepare to face each other on Sunday, a war off the field has reportedly erupted between the owners of the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys.
In a letter from Dallas Cowboys general counsel Jason Cohen to NFL owners on the compensation committee and NFL counsel Brad Karp, Jerry Jones said league owners have been misled about facts concerning Commissioner Roger Goodell's contract, according to an ESPN report.
All 32 owners voted in May to extend Goodell's contract and authorized the compensation committee to work out the details. The league and Goodell have been working on a five-year deal to kick in when his current deal expires in 2019.
According to NBC Sports, Jones plans to accuse Arthur Blank, CEO of the Atlanta Falcons, of misleading other owners regarding the contract's details. Blank is the NFL's compensation committee chairman.
Cohen writes that Jones “has discovered a number of very concerning issues,” including a contention that Blank has “misled” the owners not serving on the committee, and that “critical facts” have been misrepresented. Cohen claims Blank told owners that the compensation committee would vote unanimously on Goodell's deal. But Jones claims the committee is not currently unanimous.
According to the ESPN report, the letter says Jones has discovered a discretionary bonus plan that was not disclosed. It also says the compensation committee's consultants called Goodell's previous contract "the most one-sided deal they have ever seen."
The letter says that there is "a substantial commitment by the Owners, as more than $200 million is at stake, on top of the $200 million already paid to him," according to the report.
Jones' frustration with Goodell stems from his being upset with the six-game suspension levied against Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott over a domestic violence accusation. Elliott was never charged in the case.
According to the ESPN report, Jones said that the league is in a state of "upheaval" under an "avalanche of issues that have beleaguered the NFL unlike any other time in recent memory. These changing conditions must be weighed relative to the timing of the Commissioner's contract extension."
Jones has retained legal counsel and Wednesday threatened to sue the league in an effort to block Goodell's extension.
11Alive reached out to the Falcons for a comment, and were directed to contact the NFL, which has not responded to our request.