WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — If the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys hope to overturn the combined $46 million in salary cap adjustments levied against them by the NFL, they better be ready to have some blood splash back in their direction.
That’s the opinion of Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, who joined Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier for their inaugural show Monday.
Making strange bedfellows, the hated rivals have teamed together to file a grievance against the NFL and the NFLPA to dispute the sanctions imposed against them for transactions made during the uncapped 2010 season.
“I’m told that they haven’t pulled the grenade yet as it relates to contending that ‘Look, what the NFL was trying to do was get the owners to engage in collusion in 2010 and deliberately not spend money to keep money in the pockets of the owners and out of the pockets of the players with a lockout coming in 2011,’” Florio said.
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The belief is owners conspired to keep spending low during the uncapped season knowing that a lockout was looming and big spending would lead ultimately to an higher than desired salary cap in the new CBA.
Teams were warned six times, verbally, during that 2010 not to take advantage of the uncapped season. Written warnings would have been evidence of collusion.
“What the NFL tried to do was put extra limitations on spending that didn’t appear in the CBA,” said Florio. “That’s where the collusion comes into play.”
On Monday, the NFL released a statement regarding their decision.
He thinks it’s a given such collusion actually occurred, but it’s a very risky proposition for the two most severely punished teams try to have the sanctions overturned.
In short, nobody will make it out cleanly once the mud slinging begins.
“I think that if the Cowboys and the Redskins really decide to push this thing they need to come out and say ‘Look, we’re being punished because refused to engage in collusion.’ But that would have, I would think, unintended and unwanted consequences on the Cowboys and Redskins if they blow the lid off collusion,” he said.
Florio, a former attorney, pointed out that the teams could make a case that sanctions could be voided because the league failed to follow proper procedure. The salary cap adjustments were enforced without a vote of the owners.
To have avoided the sanctions, Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones would have needed only seven other teams to agree with them to block it.
Unlike the bulk of team owners, the NFLPA did sign off on the deal, thusly making themselves a target of the NFC East teams’ grievance.
“This was some kind of a secret back room deal that was cut without anyone knowing,” Florio said of the likely arguments to be brought forth by the teams.
Some believe the long wait in announcing this year’s salary cap was due to the forthcoming action against the two teams.
To further the speculation, the low cap number could have been a hindrance in the reelection of NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith last week had it not been for the re-distribution of the $46 million in adjustments to other teams.
“There’s no way DeMaurice Smith could have survived with his reelection last week if the salary cap would have actually gone down from $120.3 million to $116 million,” said Florio. “It had to go up even if it only went up by a little bit. And that’s where the NFL saw an opportunity to swoop in and take care of this thing. The NFL said, ‘OK, we’ll help you get that number back up . . . We’ll get it up there and you have to do something for us.’ “
The redistribution of funds gives 28 other teams an additional $1.6 million in cap space. The Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints will not benefit from the windfall due to infractions on a much smaller scale.
“This is a dirty deal, done in a back room, without even Jerry Jones knowing when he was on the executive committee,” Florio concluded. “It just stinks to high heaven.”
The NFL said Monday neither the league, nor the teams involved will have further comment until the issue is resolved.