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Jim Irsay hints at major structural change to league management, post-Roger Goodell

Mike Florio and Chris Simms explain why they believe the Andrew Luck situation could’ve been an attempt to try to gain more draft leverage.

Commissioner Roger Goodell is poised to sign a new contract that will take him through March 2027. At that point, Goodell apparently will move on.

After he does, the NFL could undergo a major overhaul of the manner in which the league office is managed.

“It could be where we have a CEO of business and of the league and you have a commissioner of football,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said Tuesday, via Jori Epstein of Yahoo Sports. “I think we are looking to grow our business model significantly.”

It’s a concept mentioned in one of the final chapters of Playmakers. As the league grows and grows, it needs a leader who is skilled in managing high-level business, regardless of industry. There’s a skill set unique to CEOs, and the various challenges that the NFL encounters as it gets bigger and bigger may require someone like that, along with a football lifer who can handle the specifics of the game itself. But the CEO would run the overall show.

That approach would dramatically change the current collection of usual suspects whose names are mentioned whenever Goodell’s inevitable departure is discussed. Whether Brian Rolapp or Troy Vincent or whichever current executive lands on the radar screen, searching for a traditional CEO unlocks a new universe of potential leaders of the National Football League.

Regardless of who it is and how they do it, the clock is ticking toward 2027. Irsay said Goodell’s time “apparently” will end then.

Of course, that’s what former NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said after Goodell signed his current contract. Goodell quickly corrected Lockhart, and before too long Lockhart was long gone.