2012 NFL Free Agency: Cowboys Should Use Penalty Ruling as Motivation

Peter MatarazzoContributor IMarch 13, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 03:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the media during a news conference ahead of Superbowl XLVI on February 3, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys were handed down a despicable and inexplicable ruling by the NFL today in which $10 million worth of cap space would be stripped right out from under them.

The cap hit can be spread over the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

The Washington Redskins also suffered the same fate to the tune of $36 million.

What I cannot understand is that according to ProFootballtalk.com, the manner in which the Cowboys handled their contracts was not a violation of the CBA, but the NFLPA allowed the penalty to pass through anyway, or else the salary cap would've been $116 million. 

I need to go light a candle right now because the NFL office stinks so bad. Apparently, this was the reason why the NFL announced the final salary cap figure two days before free agency. They had to make sure all their midnight auditing was complete. 

Cowboys nation should be irate, irked and venomous towards the actions of the NFL and its executive committee of overpaid suits.

The actions of the NFL today, as distasteful as they are, clearly continue to be a walking contradiction.  Before the lockout last season there were a handful of small-market teams that cried the blues about how they were limited in their ability to maximize revenues while pointing the finger at franchises like the Cowboys. 

Now the NFL is taking away salary-cap space from the Cowboys and dividing it evenly to other teams. The Cowboys were not only operating within the rules, but the contracts were approved by the NFL. The league wants competitive balance but the same teams consistently spend money while the usual suspects don't. 

Up until a labor deal was reached the smaller markets didn't even have a minimum cap requirement.  It's the same scenario when the Yankees write a check to the Kansas City Royals and the owner doesn't put the money into the team. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. 

The NFL is slowly...no, wait, rapidly becoming an ugly dictatorship.

So where do the Cowboys go from here? Legally? Ethically? A lot of unanswered questions surround the business and legal side of this issue, but there is one more IMPORTANT question: How do the Cowboys approach free agency? 

The clock is ticking. A detailed plan was outlined over at ESPNDallas.com that should give Cowboys fans a little optimism. It not only gave me a more positive outlook but the article also reinforced some of the needs they still would be able to fill. It looks like Jerry and Stephen Jones will be pulling an all-nighter to figure this out, but it needs to be done. 

In light of the events that transpired today, the Dallas Cowboys need to use this experience as a motivating factor heading into the 2012 season. Not only does the situation stink like Parmesan and diarrhea, but it will continue to linger until redemption takes place.

Jerry Jones needs to find a way to restructure any contracts he sees fit, release fringe players and do whatever it takes to send a message to the fans, the team and the NFL that this ruling is just an obstacle in our path. 

That message and the order of redemption needs to take place immediately. 

The Cowboys will still be able to accomplish their goals in free agency, but only if they take this approach. If they waver or hesitate in their actions, it could cost them a valuable opportunity to improve the team. Quite frankly, this team can't afford to lose anything more.