NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced picks during the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday and Friday. He apparently did so for free, per a new report by Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal. Goodell actually reduced his salary to $0 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news about Goodell's altered salary was revealed on Wednesday, but he actually began working for free much earlier. ESPN's Adam Schefter revealed that the change took effect at the beginning of April. Instead of earning a salary that could reach $40 million based on incentives, Goodell was pocketing nothing while getting comfortable in his basement during the NFL Draft. While this news brought about concerns about the upcoming NFL season, Schefter also clarified that the salary change had nothing to do with any potential delays. The league still plans on playing the full season.
Goodell's reduction in salary was confirmed in a memo from Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II. The memo was obtained by ESPN and declared valid by a league spokesman. It also revealed that the NFL will be implementing executive pay cuts and furloughing a limited number of employees.
"I wanted to make you aware that yesterday afternoon the Compensation Committee reviewed and approved these measures," Rooney wrote. "It is important to note that the Commissioner and his staff took the initiative to implement these measures as responsible steps in light of the economic uncertainty facing all businesses. Obviously, these are steps we all would prefer not to have to take, and the League office remains committed to planning for a full season in 2020. ... In addition to the steps outlined in the memo, last month the Commissioner requested that he voluntarily reduce his salary to $0, which went into effect earlier this month."
According to the breakdown of pay cuts, managers will see a 5 percent reduction in salary due to the coronavirus pandemic. The amount will rise to 7 percent for directors, 10 percent for vice presidents, 12 percent for senior vice presidents and 15 percent for executive vice presidents. However, any employee earning less than $100,000 will not have to worry. Their salary will not be affected. Additionally, no employee's salary will drop below $100,000.
"We hope that business conditions will improve and permit salaries to be returned to their current levels, although we do not know when that will be possible," Goodell wrote in the memo. The NFL Commissioner also explained that the goal is to bring furloughed employees back to work in a matter of months. They will not be paid but will continue to receive health benefits.