NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday that he will give up his entire $40 million salary as part of an effort by the league to cut costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roger Goodell NFL salary
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a series of pay cuts throughout the league, and also voluntarily agreed to take no salary this year. (Image: NFL/AP)

Goodell announced the move in a memo sent to the NFL league office, NFL Network, and NFL Films.

Goodell Announces Salary Cuts for Senior-Level Staff

The commissioner warned that the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic will be larger than most people currently realize, and that even the NFL will be immune from its effects.

According to NFL officials, Goodell voluntarily requested the salary reduction in March and it went into effect earlier this month.

That’s only the start of salary reductions throughout the league. Beginning in May, staffers at the manager level and above will take pay cuts. Those begin at 5% for managers and rise as high as 15% for executive vice presidents. No staffer will see their salary fall below $100,000 due to these cuts, according to the memo.

“While we continue to prepare for a full 2020 season of NFL football, we also need to manage in a responsible way, adopting a flexible approach that responds to the current conditions in a way that minimizes the risk to our employees, our clubs, and the NFL’s business,” Goodell wrote.

The league is also cutting its pension contributions from 15% to 10% The permanent change begins on July 1.

The NFL Compensation Committee approved the measures, according to an email sent by Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II.

“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,” Rooney wrote. “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.”

NFL Targeting September Start for 2020 Season

Goodell also announced furloughs for some league employees. While those individuals won’t be paid, the league will continue to fund full health care benefits for those workers.

“It is important to remember that a furlough is not a termination,” Goodell said in the memo. “We do not know how long a furlough will last, but we are hopeful that we will be able to return furloughed employees back to work within a few months.”

While nearly all sports league worldwide have halted play during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL won’t start its 2020 season until September, raising hopes that the league may be able to play on schedule in some form. President Donald Trump even told major league sports commissioners that he believed the NFL would be able to start in September during a conference call earlier this month.

Medical officials have shown less optimism for that timeline. NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said earlier this month that widespread and rapid testing would need to become available in order for the NFL to return, particularly with fans in attendance.

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