From time to time, it’s been suggested that the litigation over the relocation of the Rams could result in at least $1 billion flowing from the NFL to St. Louis. It could be a lot more than that.
The article from Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com detailing Tuesday’s meeting among owners regarding the possibility that Rams owner Stan Kroenke will renege on his commitment to pay the full bill for the case includes two paragraphs that justify significant attention and scrutiny.
As Wickersham explains it, the discussion included an exchange between NFL general counsel Jeff Pash and Cowboys owner (and Kroenke supporter) Jerry Jones regarding potential settlement of the case.
Jones asked Pash if Kroenke had tried to settle the case. Pash said that Kroenke has tried.
Here’s the key portion of Wickersham’s article, regarding what came next: “Jones indicated that Kroenke’s settlement figure was billions of dollars. Pash refused to confirm the figure — a source with direct knowledge of the situation told ESPN it was less than a billion — but told those in the meeting that it was more than the net worth of some in the room.”
It’s not entirely clear whether that’s the amount the St. Louis plaintiffs had demanded, the amount Kroenke already had offered, or the amount Kroenke would be willing to pay. Whatever it is, it shows that the owners are taking the situation seriously, that they realize the final outcome could be financially devastating for the league.
That’s probably why Kroenke is looking for a loophole in his indemnity agreement. And it’s why the league already has contemplated the possibility of offering St. Louis an expansion franchise in order to make everything go away.
It’s also why everyone should be paying close attention to this one. St. Louis has the NFL on the run, and it’s bad enough that the NFL owners seem to be heading for a fight regarding who will foot the eventual bill.