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NFL reportedly charged each team $7.5 million to cover St. Louis settlement

Matt Johnson
NFL
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

When the National Football League voted to approve the Rams’ relocation from St. Louis to Los Angeles, owner Stan Kroenke reportedly agreed to cover the costs of any legal expenses caused by the move. Years later, each NFL team is reportedly now paying for the Rams’ relocation.

The NFL recently agreed to a $790 million settlement with the city of St. Louis over the relocation of the NFL team. St. Louis launched Its lawsuit In 2015, seeking more than $1 billion in damages for Kroenke allegedly violating the league’s relocation guidelines. 

While the league avoided the case being heard in court, which would have put private communications between team owners under the microscope, it came at a staggering cost. However, the $790 million settlement was viewed as tolerable by many team owners because they believed Kroenke’s promise.

According to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, each of those teams is now out of $7.5 million with the NFL taking it away from all 32 teams to help cover part of the costs of the case.

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported in October 2021 that owners learned during a league meeting from legal counsel that Kroenke refused to cover the entire settlement. During that meeting, Kroenke argued that the lawsuit wasn’t his fault and that he has done everything he could to help the NFL.

According to The Athletic, Kroenke’s defense against paying the entire settlement is that legal costs and the cost of a settlement itself are two very separate things. He also suggested that damaging information provided by the opposition is responsible for the settlement amount and it should be shared by the league.

“The team executives described surprise at the move and complained that the action had caused budgeting issues because of the sudden charge and not knowing whether the money would be returned if Kroenke is ordered by the NFL to pay the whole sum.”

Excerpt from The Athletic on how team executives responded to NFL taking $7.5 million

There reportedly isn’t strong support for Kroenke among many of his peers in the NFL, with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones one of his few steadfast defenders.

Kroenke isn’t in any danger of being removed, especially given the success the Rams have enjoyed in the Los Angeles market. However, it’s clear many in the league are especially bothered by him seemingly backing out on a promise and it costing them millions of dollars.