Roger Goodell has signed a five-year contract extension to remain the commissioner of the NFL, with his new contract until 2023 and a value of $ 200 million during the term of the contract if the owners approve all the bonuses and they meet all the incentives.
So, what about Goodell, whose new deal had been a controversial issue during the 2017 season? We asked our panel of ESPN NFL experts to rate:
Roger Goodell's number 1 priority should be ______________.
Dan Graziano, NFL writer: … finding common ground with the NFLPA on negotiations for the next collective bargaining agreement . At this point, the league does not have much to offer players in the negotiations. Players are not likely to make financial concessions in exchange for rewards for things like personal behavior policy or marijuana, even if those things make headlines. The commissioner and the owners should talk to the leaders of the NFLPA and find out what will be the main problems in the next negotiations, then work to see if they can do something to avoid work stoppage when this agreement runs out by 2020..
Mina Kimes, main writer: … player security. This includes some things: ensuring that current and retired players receive the necessary health care, examining the viability of Thursday night football, developing a coherent rubric to apply the rules that deter unnecessary violence (although they acknowledge that the violence is inherent in sports) and investing in substantive and independent concussion research.
Mike Sando, senior writer of the NFL: … be more proactive and less reactive . The league spends so much time and resources covering its backside instead of emphasizing the good of the game and focusing on how to do it even better. Maybe that's what happens when the league forgets that the "F" in the NFL means "Football" and not "Finance". The league does not make decisions systematically for the right reasons.
Aaron Schatz, editor-in-chief of Football Outsiders: … creating a clear standard for player punishment. Frankly, we could use a clear standard for team punishment as well. Goodell's punishments seem completely arbitrary, a weathervane made at random by the winds of news coverage and public relations. The New Orleans fans were crazy, the New England fans are still angry, the Dallas fans (and especially the owner) are super angry. And remember that it could be your favorite team or player the next. We need standards to know who loses how many games and how many draft picks to do what things. (And although the shock crisis is very important, the player's punishment is something Goodell affects much more directly.)
Kevin Seifert, NFL national writer: … Brain health . There is no greater threat to the long-term health of the players and, therefore, of the league itself. Maybe this is a naive take. But if a commissioner does not prioritize the most existential threat facing the game, what is the objective of the job?
Seth Wickersham, lead writer: … a reconstruction of the executive staff of the league . The most common complaint he hears from the owners is not the result of costly Goodell disciplinary issues, but the lack of vision of the league office: what space in the culture the league should occupy, how it will adjust to the changing habits of the viewer , how it will no longer be seen as square and damn, how it will convince mothers that their children should play soccer and how it will expand internationally and capitalize on the likelihood that the game will be legalized, two areas where the NBA is far, far ahead of the NFL. Goodell's executive staff earns tens of millions of dollars to provide homeowners with these answers, and it has been a long time since the owners were happy.
Field Yates, NFL Insider: … the health and safety of players . That should always be the number one priority of the commissioner. Playing in the NFL offers these athletes rare opportunities and allows them to fulfill what has been for almost all of them a lifelong dream. And although the product on the field is tremendous and the action is exciting, these players are not machines. Your health and well-being should always be the main focus.