When NFL penalized the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins for seeking a competitive advantage by front-loading contracts during the 2010 season, when no salary cap was in place. They took $36 million of cap space from the Redskins and $10 million from the Cowboys as a penalty.
Did the NFL really think that both teams would sit by and do nothing?
Well, if they did they were wrong and now the leagues two most valuable franchises have come together to fight the NFL on this penalty. They filled a complaint against both the league as well as the National Football League Players Association with the hopes of getting the NFL to reverse the ruling.
At first, it seems like an unlikely combination but when it comes to protecting their franchises the Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and the Cowboys boss Jerry Jones are dangerous allies. Truth be told, both Jones and Snyder are good friends and fighting together against the league is something that other owners should fear.
As the NFL owners meetings begin today in Miami there will be plenty of behind closed doors conversations on how best to handle the complaint put forth by the Redskins and the Cowboys.
The complaint will be heard by federal arbitrator Stephen Burbank and both sides will be able to plead their case on the issue. In cases like this one both sides agree that the arbiter’s decision will be final and thus avoid a court battle.
The key point of contention between the two sides is that in 2010 the NFL contends that they warned teams not to dump salaries or to front load contracts during the uncapped year to take advantage of the lack of a salary cap while a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was being worked out with the National football League Players Association.
Will the Cowboys and the Redskins win the case?
The league’s anti-salary-dumping and no front-loading policy was never put into writing.
In separate statements both teams deny any wrong doing.
“The Washington Redskins have received no written documentation from the NFL concerning adjustments to the team salary cap in 2012 as reported in various media outlets,” Redskins GM Bruce Allen said. “Every contract entered into by the club during the applicable periods complied with the 2010 and 2011 collective bargaining agreements and, in fact, were approved by the NFL commissioner’s office. We look forward to free agency, the draft and the coming football season.”
“The Dallas Cowboys were in compliance with all league salary cap rules during the uncapped year. We look forward to the start of the free agency period where our commitment to improving our team remains unchanged.” The Cowboys declared in their official statement to the press.
It really is uncertain at this point who will prevail the NFL or the duo of Jones and Snyder. But one thing is for certain and that is the process should be fun to follow.