Texas Beatdown: Why Roger Goodell Will Fine Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Millions

Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones. Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones could have to pay hefty legal fees for supporting Ezekiel Elliott's fight to avoid a six-game suspension and threatening to derail the contract extension of Commissioner Roger Goodell.

According to the Associated Press, a source familiar with the matter has suggested the NFL was exploring the options of getting over $2m in reimbursement from Jones. A number of other owners have been consulted, the source said.

In August last year, the NFL suspended Elliott for six games over allegations of domestic violence after one of the running back's ex-girlfriends claimed he had abused her five times.

But Jones insisted the Illinois-native should not be penalized as the incident predated his entry in the NFL and, according to ESPN, he also tried to influence one of the league's top investigators.

While Elliott was not arrested or charged by prosecutors, the NFL argued his ex-girlfriend's statement and the pictures of the injuries he allegedly inflicted on her were more than enough to justify the suspension.

Jones, however, stood by the running back throughout his six-game ban—even when the latter took his case to the federal court, where he eventually saw his appeal denied. At the same time, the Cowboys owner was a non-voting member of the league's compensation committee and tried to convince a number of NFL owners the terms of the proposed extension for Goodell should be less generous than what was being proposed.

Despite knowing only 12% of Goodell's salary was guaranteed, while the rest would be contingent on him meeting a series of financial targets, Jones continued to argue the commissioner was being overpaid.

In November, soon after Elliott exhausted his appeal, the 75-year-old the hired high-profile lawyer David Boies and announced he would be prepared to sue the six owners on the NFL's compensation committee which had been in charge of extending Goodell's contract.

The six are the owners of the New York Giants, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans.

Jones said he would be prepared to take the six to court to prevent them from extending Goodell's contract, which triggered an exchange letters between lawyers from both sides.

The Cowboys owner eventually backed down but he could face hefty legal costs as a league resolution passed in 1997 states owners are allowed to demand a repayment for legal fees, if they feel they have been involved in legal action because of the actions of a fellow owner.

The New York Times added that Goodell, who has since been given a five-year extension, is expected to formalize the punishment in the coming weeks, by declaring that Jones's conduct was detrimental to the league. The commissioner has reportedly been reluctant to punish the Cowboys' owner as he did not want to be seen as exacting retribution for the way Jones obstructed his contract talks, but his head has been turned by several owners.