Has confidence of owners
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has been given a new five-year contract as the league heads into a key period of labor negotiations that could lead to a work stoppage in 2011.
Goodell replaced Paul Tagliabue on Sept. 1, 2006, and his contract was due to expire in September. The NFL said yesterday that owners voted to award the new contract when they met in December, and his deal runs until March 2015.
“We’re going into a major negotiation. It will be very difficult probably in many ways and we want to have someone who has his own views, who’s going to have to make some hard decisions that maybe some of us won’t like,’’ Patriots owner Robert Kraft said.
“But in the end, I think we’re confident that he and his team will do what’s for the best long-term interest of the league,’’ said Kraft. “Having stability in our management team is critical.’’
Next season, the last in the current agreement, is on track to be played without a salary cap. NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith said last week the union views the chance of a lockout as a “14’’ on a scale of 1 to 10. That would end a streak of labor peace since the 1987 strike resulted in three weeks of play with replacement players.
Although all terms of Goodell’s new deal have not been completed, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Goodell’s annual compensation will be unchanged.
The NFL said a year ago that Goodell voluntarily took a cut of 20 to 25 percent, and that he and other league executives were freezing their salaries for 2009. That announcement was made at the same time the league announced it cut 169 jobs through buyouts and layoffs, a drop of more than 15 percent of a workforce that had been 1,100.
The tax return for the year ending last March 31 showed Goodell made $9,759,000, of which $2.9 million was salary and $6.55 million bonus and incentive compensation.
The Dolphins released the four-time Pro Bowl linebacker, then had to place him back on the roster because of a salary-cap issue.
According to the NFL Network, the team would have had to release another player to clear enough space to be able to cut Porter before a possible uncapped year begins March 5. Porter is still expected to be released or traded in the next few weeks.
Porter campaigned to be waived, saying in broadcast interviews he was frustrated about his reduced role in 2009 and doubted his relationship with coach Tony Sparano could be repaired.
Porter said he talked with Sparano only on Sundays and stopped speaking with general manager Jeff Ireland and football czar Bill Parcells. Porter said he was the Dolphins’ best outside linebacker and was unhappy about being replaced by pass-rush specialist Cameron Wake in some situations.
Porter’s expected departure increases the likelihood the Dolphins will retain 35-year-old linebacker Jason Taylor. He and Porter were often ineffective as a tandem, and it was expected at least one of them would not return in 2010.