As the start to the NFL’s new league year fast approaches, and along with it, Free Agency, the belief among teams is growing that the Washington Redskins will again attempt to recoup salary cap money lost in a post-lockout penalty approved by league owners.
Various reports insist Washington is heavily considering seeking an injunction through litigation that would delay the start of Free Agency – scheduled for March 12 – for the entire league until the Redskins are given money back.
Of course, Washington and Dallas were both penalized for allegedly taking advantage of the lockout by front-loading contracts during the uncapped year, a method used to get money off the books quicker, despite an agreement among league owners banning such practices.
When the lockout ended, Washington was penalized significantly more than Dallas; $36 million to be spread out over two years, versus $10 million over the same duration of time for the Cowboys.
And now the Redskins are in jeopardy of not being able to re-sign valuable assets to the team – scheduled to become unrestricted Free Agents – due to lack of available cap space.
There has been talk the team could restructure certain contracts, like those of veterans DeAngelo Hall and Santana Moss, to create more room to spend, but the players would have to be willing participants.
The only option left is to fire the nuclear warheads at the rest of the league with the threat to stall Free Agency for everyone.
“This whole nuclear option thing, and trying to get an injunction to stop free agency; I mean, could that work? I don’t know,” Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports told 106.7 The Fan’s Holden and Danny. “I’m not a lawyer, but I have to think that’s posturing. But I do know they’ve met with a lot of agents at the combine and they were telling these guys, ‘Hey, don’t give up on us. We have a fight in this cap thing and we think we’re going to be more active than anybody’s giving us credit for.’”
The posturing angle is an interesting one.
The idea is that Washington’s recent threat of litigation against the league is an idle one, really aimed at pressuring the NFL into conceding at least some cap space back into the hands of Dan Snyder.
But La Canfora doesn’t believe that plan is the most sound, for more reasons than the obvious that the Redskins would be spitting in the faces of the other owners.
“I’m not privy to everything that went on behind closed doors, but ultimately what hurt them is that the NFLPA did sign off on this agreement that gave all these other teams the cap space,” La Canfora said. “And they all got their little bump and they took away from the Cowboys and the Redskins. That already happened. We’re already halfway through this thing.”
La Canfora believes the only recourse if you’re the Redskins is to let this storm pass, because it’s already too late to take sensible action.
“We may have to get restitution down the line, but the ship has probably sailed for March 12 and the start of the league year, and us having this $18 million that we think we still deserve to have.”
In the meantime, reports currently have Washington somewhere around $4 million over the cap, meaning significant cuts would have to be made to meet salary cap requirements in the next two weeks.
But again, that’s only if you’re to believe the Redskins shouldn’t be taken seriously.