In October, Terry Pegula bought the Buffalo Bills for $1.4 billion. Five months later, Forbes has devalued Pegula’s net worth by $800 million.
Of the other 12 NFL owners listed in Forbes’ Top 400 ranking of American billionaires, released Monday, each saw his net worth rise or remain the same.
Understand that these valuations are all guesswork on Forbes’ part. Indeed, its estimates last year regarding rocker Jon Bon Jovi’s net worth and initial bid amounts in the Buffalo Bills sale were considerably off the mark.
Last September, about the time Pegula and wife Kim won the bidding for the Bills, Forbes listed the 63-year-old’s net worth at $4.6 billion. On Monday, Forbes lowered it to $3.8 billion without clearly explaining the drop.
Pegula’s updated bio does point out that this decade he has dropped $189 million on the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, an NFL-franchise-sale-record $1.4 billion on the Bills and $172 million on downtown Buffalo redevelopment.
Pegula made a fracking fortune in the oil and gas industries, specifically on drilling and property acquisitions.
Oddly, one of the two known bidders Pegula was said to be far richer than during the Bills sale process last year — New York entrepreneur Donald Trump — is now worth more than Pegula, according to the financial-news website. Trump is worth $4.1 billion, up $100 million from September, and sits 131st in the Top 400. Pegula is at No. 151.
Only three NFL owners were worth more than Pegula at the time he bought the Bills, per Forbes: Seahawks owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen ($17 billion then, $17.6 billion now), Dolphins owner Stephen Ross ($6 billion then, $6.5 billion) and Rams owner Stan Kroenke ($5.7 billion then, $6.3 billion now).
Today, three more NFL owners also are worth more than Pegula, per Forbes: Jaguars owner Shahid Khan ($4.5 billion), Patriots owner Robert Kraft ($4.3 billion) and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones ($4.2 billion).
The collective net worth of the 13 NFL owners who made the new Forbes Top 400 is $61.23 billion, a rise of $2.93 billion since September. If the NFL’s other 19 owners are worth an average of only $1 billion each (an unlikely lowball estimate), then the league’s ownership collectively has a net worth of about $80 billion.
Yet they always claim they desperately need the public sector to pick up most of the tab on constructing all these new stadiums dotting riverfronts, lakefronts and downtowns across America.
Dez, Demaryius among 5 franchise-tag recipients
Two elite receivers, two elite pass rushers and one of the NFL’s best placekickers got slapped with franchise tags by Monday afternoon’s deadline.
Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant, Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, Kansas City outside linebacker Justin Houston, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski will remain with their teams for at least one more season.
A bunch of star players who were not tagged on Monday become free agents on March 10 at 4 p.m. EST, unless their teams work out new deals with them in the interim.
These players include Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Buffalo outside linebacker Jerry Hughes, Dallas running back DeMarco Murray, Denver tight end Julius Thomas, Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb, Cleveland tight end Jordan Cameron, New England safety Devin McCourty, San Francisco guard Mike Iupati and Philadelphia receiver Jeremy Maclin.
Monday’s franchise-tagged players received the non-exclusive kind. It gives them a lucrative, position-specific, fully guaranteed one-year salary. Bryant and Thomas each get $12.823 million in 2015, Houston $13.195 million, Pierre-Paul $14.813 million, Gostkowski $4.126 million — amounts determined by annual calculations set forth in the collective bargaining agreement.
All five players technically are free to sign elsewhere starting March 10, but that won’t happen. That’s because the offering team would owe the player’s current team (should the current team opt not to match the offer) two first-round draft picks as compensation.
No NFLers except, perhaps, a few top quarterbacks are worth that, and such players never would be dangled like this anyway.
Taggers can still sign their taggees to a long-term deal, but only until July 15. Some teams apply the tag merely to gain time for this purpose past the opening of free agency. The Patriots announced Monday that that “is the goal” in Gostkowski’s case.
Chiefs GM John Dorsey said the same thing about Houston, the NFL’s leading sacker last season with 22.
“We will continue to discuss long-term options with him and his agent,” Dorsey said in a statement. “Our goal is to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial. We want to keep Justin in a Chiefs uniform for years to come.”
No players this year received an exclusive franchise tag. One player, Miami tight end Charles Clay, received a transition tag. Salary amounts in this option are lower compared to non-exclusive franchise tags ($7.071 million for tight ends, compared to $8.347 million), but any team that should sign Clay by the transition-tag deadline of July 22 would owe the Dolphins nothing.
CAP RISES: The NFL announced that the team salary cap for 2015 is $143.28 million. That’s a rise of $20.3 million since 2013, or 16.5%. Because teams can carry over unused cap room, the specific cap for each team varies. See the list at NFLplayers.com.
CAP CASUALTIES: Monday’s list included Steelers WR Lance Moore, Giants C J.D. Walton and Dolphins CB Cortland Finnegan (one year after the Rams cut him in a cost-saving move) and OT Nate Garner. Last week the cap-strapped Dolphins cut WRs Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson.
DRANK, DROVE, DROPPED: The image-conscious Ravens aren’t screwing around anymore, following the Ray Rice disaster of last September. On Monday they waived CB Victor Hampton, a down-roster free agent they’d just signed in January. He was arrested on the weekend and charged with driving while impaired, speeding at 160 km/h, reckless driving and being in possession of an open alcohol container.
EXTRA POINTS: WR/KR Jacoby Jones, cut last week by the Ravens in a cap move, reportedly visited the Bengals and Titans … The Eagles signed LB Brad Jones to a two-year deal. He was cut by the Packers on Feb. 20 after six years in Green Bay.