Skip to content

NFLPA agreed to Cowboys/Redskins salary cap sanctions

133604524_crop_650x440 Getty Images

The NFL’s decision to remove salary cap space now from teams that dumped salary into the uncapped year of 2010 technically constitutes a violation of the labor deal with the players, because the CBA allowed teams to spend at will in the uncapped year, subject to specifically negotiated limits (e.g., six years to unrestricted free agency, the “Final Eight Plan”).

But it’s not a violation if the players agree to it.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the dynamics tell PFT that the NFLPA agreed to allow the NFL to take $10 million in cap space from the Cowboys and $36 million from the Redskins and redistribute the money to all other teams, except the Saints and Raiders.  On the surface, the decision of the players to permit money to be robbed from two rich teams that like to spend it and given in equal chunks to 28 other teams (including poor teams that like to hoard it) makes little sense.  With the Bengals already near $50 million in cap space, their $1.6 million share of the Cowboys/Redskins cap room quite possibly will be wasted.

So why did the union agree?  The sources explain that the NFL offered to help pump up the 2012 team-by-team salary cap in exchange for the union’s agreement to remove cap money from the Cowboys and Redskins.  One source said that, without the NFLPA’s agreement regarding the removal of cap room from the Cowboys and Redskins, the 2012 salary cap would have been in the range of $116 million per team.  (One source said that the number at one point was presented to the union as being a paltry $113.5 million.)  With the players agreeing to remove $46 million from the Cowboys and Redskins, the league agreed to a massaging of the salary and benefit numbers in order to get the 2012 salary cap up to $120.6 million.  (The recalculation also kicked in some additional money that otherwise would not have been devoted to salary and benefits for 2012.)

Thus, the union had no real option.  Without consenting to the reduction of the Redskins and Cowboys cap numbers, the unadjusted cap limit would have dropped, for the first time ever.

And with NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith up for re-election this month, he quite possibly would not have been re-elected.

The delay in the release of the cap number directly arose from the Cowboys/Redskins conundrum.  Absent this issue, the cap number would have been disclosed well in advance of the start of the 2012 league year, instead of only two days before it.

Finally, as to the notion that the NFL approved the various contracts that took excessive advantage of the uncapped year in 2010, it’s critical to consider the broader context.  The union already was prepared to pounce on any possible evidence of collusion.  If the NFL had decided to reject contracts because teams were taking advantage of rules that the teams had every right to take advantage of, the NFLPA would have sued — and the case would have been bolstered by the fact that, on at least six occasions, the NFL had told the teams not to treat the uncapped year as a salary dump.  So the NFL approved the contracts and delayed punishment until a point where the league had leverage to persuade the union to agree to an effort to take action after the fact against teams that refused to collude.

Permalink 68 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Rumor Mill, Top Stories, Washington Redskins
68 Responses to “NFLPA agreed to Cowboys/Redskins salary cap sanctions”
  1. omegalh says: Mar 12, 2012 7:00 PM

    Can we get some examples? I don’t see the problem with moving money to the uncapped year. It is uncapped, no limit, spend like the yanks.

  2. scratchnpost1234 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:00 PM

    So much for the NFLPA getting in on a collusion suit with Snyder and JJ.

  3. jenniferxxx says: Mar 12, 2012 7:02 PM

    Jerrah and Danny … two well-loved owners apparently.

  4. gtotech says: Mar 12, 2012 7:03 PM

    This is just plain ridiculous, now that we seem to have a chance at moving forward, they throw another monkey wrench at us, the Redskins deserve a fair chance like anyother team, and just because they are one of the highest earning teams, its time to stop penalizing Dan Snyder for at least one thing he does well, marketing the Redskins, win or lose.

  5. discosucs2005 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:05 PM

    Before anyone starts complaining about how tyrannical the NFL is hurting these two teams, lets keep in mind that, however ridiculous you find the rule, both teams knew about it and still chose to break it.

    So blame the rule all you want, but that doesn’t excuse the actions of the teams.

  6. weskcfan says: Mar 12, 2012 7:05 PM

    And now we have the answer to why it took so long to release the 2012 Salary cap.

    It’s amazing how there’s always more than meets the eye at first glance. Many people were slamming the NFL for not having the nubmer released ages ago…

    Now it would seem that the NFL knew what it was doing, after all.

  7. benh999 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:05 PM

    Wouldn’t the players themselves have to vote on something that circumvents the CBA? Can DeSmith accept a lower cap number in exchange for shiny rocks too?

    Still doesn’t make sense…

  8. riihab says: Mar 12, 2012 7:06 PM

    Sincerely Stephen Jones; stop confusing me with my dad!

  9. waltdawg says: Mar 12, 2012 7:08 PM

    This just sucks ass….I cannot believe that the Skins, having a great weekend, just got set back 3-4 years…On top, we need some safeties, OL, CB, a #1 WR and other things….MLB….God have mercy on our soul…

    Hail?

  10. katrinasafterbirth says: Mar 12, 2012 7:08 PM

    Well, now we can expect Greg Williams to be suspended for life, and S. Payton for 5 years…that would go in line with this punishment. But I’m sure the NFL will go light on the media darling Saints…

  11. jmsincla says: Mar 12, 2012 7:10 PM

    This whole thing really bugs me. If the Redskins and Cowboys complain loud enough will teams that don’t spend enough be penalized? I, like Tiki, am flabbergasted.

  12. urfinished says: Mar 12, 2012 7:10 PM

    So basically the union strong armed the players into making a decision against two franchises that all spurned from an oversight by the union and the NFL in the first place.
    Danny boy and Jerrah didnt get to be billionaires without some time in the courts. And the phrase “the best lawyers money can buy” has never been more appropriate.
    I’d be shocked if this is the last we heard of this.

  13. crack27back says: Mar 12, 2012 7:10 PM

    Haven’t the last 20 years in Washington been punishment enough?

  14. dcsniksder says: Mar 12, 2012 7:12 PM

    Man… I don’t know what the ef you just said, Little Kid, but you’re special man, you reached out, and you touch a brother’s heart.

  15. sdwat54 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:13 PM

    Well, there you have it then. The fox was guarding the hen house at the behest of the Rooster.

  16. kmdp4 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:14 PM

    So neither team did anything wrong but the other owners cried to Goodell and he then threatened the NFLPA to accept the penalty or suffer a lower cap. This guy is a power hungry idiot who is ruining the game of football.

  17. zar21 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:15 PM

    “So the NFL approved the contracts and delayed punishment until a point where the league had leverage to persuade the union to agree to an effort to take action after the fact against teams that refused to collude.”

    Wow what a class act. Can you imagine Shanahans red hot face right now?

    This will be fought, could get ugly.

  18. thatsgoingtoleaveademarco says: Mar 12, 2012 7:17 PM

    The NFL also told teams not to cut bad contracts because they would be dealt with by accelerating them onto the salary cap when it came back. Of course in the haste to make a deal, the NFL backed off of this.

    The Cowboys were saddled with 20million of dead money this year and last that other teams were not because Dallas released Gurode, Davis, Columbo, Barber and Williams at the beginning of the 2011 league year instead of during January of the uncapped year.

  19. realitypolice says: Mar 12, 2012 7:17 PM

    So the NFL used extortion to get the NFLPA to ignore it’s illegal collusion.

    And you are all so certain this is all going to hold up in court if/when one of these teams sue?

    “But your honor, we understand that we violated the labor deal by imposing these penalties, but it’s hunky dory because the NFLPA went along as soon as we bought them off”.

    I’m picturing Judge Haller from My Cousin Vinny peering down at Roger Goodell from the bench and saying “Son, where did you say you went to law school again?!?”

  20. stevecmh says: Mar 12, 2012 7:17 PM

    If this is true, the Cowboys and Redskins should sue the league AND the NFLPA.

    It’s extremely short-sighted for the NFLPA to take this ‘one-time payoff’ from the NFL for turning a blind eye to the obvious collusion to limit salary payments in the uncapped year.

    How can the NFLPA object to future collusion by the NFL if it OKs it this time?

  21. godeepwvu says: Mar 12, 2012 7:20 PM

    As an Eagles fan, I take great joy in watching these two franchises continue to suffer harm at their own hands. Its been a long time since either of them have been relevant and may be a long time until they are again.

  22. thetroofishere says: Mar 12, 2012 7:20 PM

    “… NFL approved the contracts and delayed punishment until a point where the league had leverage to persuade the union to agree to an effort to take action after the fact against teams that refused to collude.”

    That in itself isn’t collusion? They intentionally allowed what they thought was wrongdoing because they knew they would get them back in long run?

  23. winskins says: Mar 12, 2012 7:21 PM

    I hope the Redskins file for an injunction to delay the entire league year, while they sue the NFL over this.

  24. 4512dawg4512 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:21 PM

    Hey RG3, get a good agent and have fun in that dumpster fire of an organization

  25. yogikenobi says: Mar 12, 2012 7:21 PM

    These teams are masters at manipulating the cap, so their punishment is a walk in the park. They should lose picks if it’s such a big deal.

  26. lostsok says: Mar 12, 2012 7:22 PM

    TMI.

    You have me at “…extra 1.9 million for your team.”

  27. 4512dawg4512 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:22 PM

    Oh and one more thing RG3, I wouldn’t hold my breath for Vincent Jackson…just sayin’

  28. cowboys282 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:25 PM

    Amazing that in an “Uncapped” year there was a secret cap no one was allowed to violate.

    Why did they even call 2010 an “Uncapped” year when it clearly was not.

  29. jason1980 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:27 PM

    The NFL is beginning to sound like some hideous dictatorship, what is going on here????

  30. billymc75 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:28 PM

    Its to my understanding that this rule was broken before it was a rule? How does that happen in the real world, only the greed of the NFL, wow ten million good luck splitting that with all the other teams.

  31. mob6667 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:29 PM

    What a bunch of hoarse Sh#t ! This should of been addressed months ago! The Cowboys should boycot all road games and the sit on there hands revenue collecting owners can go pound sand as they will be watching there half empty outdated stadiums crumble before there lazy greedy eyes ! The NFL has become a freekin JOKE !

  32. gweez76 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:30 PM

    Your last paragraph is the smoking gun…

    It’s unbelievable to present it in that manner.

    Had this been presented when the two sides were advesarial it never would have passed the smell test.

    I know it won’t happen but I hope Jerruh and Danny Boy decide to sue.

    Man I miss Al Davis. That guy never would have allowed this to go quietly into the night.

  33. musicman495 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:30 PM

    godeepwvu says: Mar 12, 2012 7:20 PM

    As an Eagles fan, I take great joy in watching these two franchises continue to suffer harm at their own hands. Its been a long time since either of them have been relevant and may be a long time until they are again.
    —————————————–
    If being relevant means underachieving year after year, and not winning a title in 50 years, you Philly fans can be relevant all you like.

  34. stevebozeman says: Mar 12, 2012 7:31 PM

    Approve the contracts then punish the teams when you need leverage. Wow, sounds like the mafia.

  35. gweez76 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:32 PM

    discosucs2005 says:
    Mar 12, 2012 7:05 PM
    Before anyone starts complaining about how tyrannical the NFL is hurting these two teams, lets keep in mind that, however ridiculous you find the rule, both teams knew about it and still chose to break it.

    So blame the rule all you want, but that doesn’t excuse the actions of the teams.

    ———————————

    Good point…oh wait! What rule? That’s the point, there was no rule.

  36. rickyck45 says: Mar 12, 2012 7:32 PM

    How can you say just under 5 million is a salary cap dump?

  37. jimbobobjr says: Mar 12, 2012 8:27 PM

    So basically the league is bribing the union into allowing collusion.

  38. spenserhatch says: Mar 12, 2012 8:34 PM

    apparently profootball talk doesn’t like my wanting to boycott the league. But I’ll say it again, Not one more penny from me

  39. hairpie says: Mar 12, 2012 8:38 PM

    CHEATERS!! disgusting… six times they were told! Man, Spygate is nothing more than an overblown distant memory now. Look at what some of these teams do and ESPN was out to humiliate The Pats for 23 seconds of tape. Incredible.

  40. rickvaldez says: Mar 12, 2012 8:39 PM

    Hey NFLPA, the cheap owners are mad at me because Snyder and Jones wrote some checks in the uncapped year…

    So the cap in 2012 will be less than its been in years, but if you allow us to punish them for something that was legal we will put the cap number where it should and keep this hush hush until you get re-elected. Sounds like a crooked plan to me and nobody except the late Davis had the guts to challenge the NFL.

  41. skin94249 says: Mar 12, 2012 8:40 PM

    Open Letter to Steve Czaban ESPN 980 Washington DC …….Steve, let’s call this exactly what this is.Every since Mr. Synder brought the team, you have been a jealous, arrogant, under cover bigoted a$$. The thing is though, you are not just prejidous against people of color but you take it to another extreme. You are against people with money, people that made errors, anybody that doesn’t look or think exactly like you. You are DC’s Rush Limbaugh. This may seem harsh to say to a person, but who do you think you are? You are not Gods Gift to anybody save your family, and I’m sure they have doubts.

  42. tonyromoisterrible says: Mar 12, 2012 8:41 PM

    What is confusing to me is that there was nothing but a gentleman’s agreement in place, and yet there is a punishment for purging over paid contracts from a previous regime. Complete BS.

  43. dmartin17 says: Mar 12, 2012 8:41 PM

    Miles Austin for $17 million in 2010. That should be all the proof you need.

    Teams were warned not to do funny things with contracts. These two teams ignored it.

  44. paulsmith107 says: Mar 12, 2012 8:48 PM

    So let’s get this straight. the NFL strong arms the nflpu into allowing this to happen by hitting them with a ridiculously low cap number. Then saying well we will eliminate two of the bigger spenders in the NFL so teams like the bengals and bucs who never spend a dimecan get more cap money. Lol and they wonder why the players union for the NFL is such a sorry weak bunch. The cap might as well been 116 mill cause the teams that aren’t spending aren’t going to. And the teams that were gonna spend now can’t f’ing fools

  45. katrinasafterbirth says: Mar 12, 2012 8:51 PM

    skin94249 says:Mar 12, 2012 8:40 PM says…

    Open Letter to Steve Czaban ESPN 980 Washington DC …….Steve, let’s call this exactly what this is.Every since Mr. Synder brought the team, you have been a jealous, arrogant, under cover bigoted a$$. The thing is though, you are not just prejidous against people of color but you take it to another extreme. You are against people with money, people that made errors, anybody that doesn’t look or think exactly like you. You are DC’s Rush Limbaugh. This may seem harsh to say to a person, but who do you think you are? You are not Gods Gift to anybody save your family, and I’m sure they have doubts.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    A person against someone with money, made errors or thinks independent would be dumbocrat. In fact, this is what is in the White house now…someone attacking our freedom – wake up loser.

  46. indyeagle says: Mar 12, 2012 8:57 PM

    So, two teams out of thirty two couldn’t follow the rules and yet some of you bumbling idiots somehow think Jerry and Danny are getting the shaft? Uh, how about this: Follow the rules and you don’t have to worry about “suing the league”.

  47. kismyanus says: Mar 12, 2012 9:01 PM

    I love Goodell! Holding teams and players/criminals accountable. All he needs to do now is throw the entire book case at the Saints and Williams.

  48. kismyanus says: Mar 12, 2012 9:03 PM

    tonyromoisterrible says: Mar 12, 2012 8:41 PM

    What is confusing to me is that there was nothing but a gentleman’s agreement in place, and yet there is a punishment for purging over paid contracts from a previous regime. Complete BS.
    ___________________
    Listen to yourself! Verbal contracts and your word should be sufficient. I do not care what year it is. If there was any type of agreement all must follow it accordingly. I have beat whole sale az for a lot less than cheating!

  49. realitypolice says: Mar 12, 2012 9:04 PM

    dmartin17 says:
    Mar 12, 2012 8:41 PM
    Miles Austin for $17 million in 2010. That should be all the proof you need.

    Teams were warned not to do funny things with contracts. These two teams ignored it.
    ====================

    Proof of what? There was no salary cap.

    Who cares if the teams were warned? Warned of what? Warned that if they played by rules and refused to collude with the other teams and the league office illegally to hold down salaries in the uncapped year they would be punished?

    The only rules the teams were required to follow were the ones in the CBA. And the Cowboys and the Redskins followed those rules to a T.

  50. rickvaldez says: Mar 12, 2012 9:05 PM

    @dmartin17

    You can warn teams all you want. What dont you get about uncapped year? The NFL isnt above the law There were no rules broken thats why they couldnt be and werent punished when the did the contracts.

    The league already takes enough mony from them and gives it to the cheap owners anyway. You really think they will use that extra money the get this year?

    This is all about some cheap jealous owners being mad at 2 of the biggest money makers and Goddell wanting to side with the majority so his job wont be in jeopardy.

    Bottom line is NO rule was broken.

  51. kismyanus says: Mar 12, 2012 9:06 PM

    Oh yeah suck it Cowboys!

  52. duncanthecat says: Mar 12, 2012 9:31 PM

    There wasn’t a cap, but there was a cap?

    Which one folks. Now you have the players association throwing two Redksins players to the wolves(unemployment line) for no other reason but for this ploy by The Commissioner in collusion with the Union.

  53. hailer21 says: Mar 12, 2012 9:34 PM

    man, collusion sure is a bitch

  54. skinsdiehard says: Mar 12, 2012 9:38 PM

    4512dawg4512 says:
    Mar 12, 2012 7:21 PM
    Hey RG3, get a good agent and have fun in that dumpster fire of an organization
    ——————————————-
    F- whatever organization you support. This was not a violation of the CBA. If they had gone along with the collusion, you’d be the first blaming them for that as well. I hate two-faced people like you. What an a-whole.

  55. 4512dawg4512 says: Mar 12, 2012 9:43 PM

    Sorry Skinsfan, but the rules are the rules bub

  56. tropboi11 says: Mar 12, 2012 9:56 PM

    So the Bucs get another 1.9 mill they wont spend? we have more in cap space than we actually spend. I hope they wake up and start spending some money starting at 4:01pm tomorrow. Sign RT Winston, CB Finnegan, DE Mario Williams, WR Mike Wallace or Garcon (maybe V-Jax but not for too much, he not worth as much as Megatron or Fitzy). Get to the spending Bucs

  57. colinsnooks says: Mar 12, 2012 10:16 PM

    Why does everyone believe that they were “warned six times” about this? Who cares about a warning. If it’s not in writing, it’s not official. Business is Business baby!

  58. sean666420 says: Mar 12, 2012 10:22 PM

    I love how the Bears get a pass giving Peppers 20 mil in 2010 but only a little over 11 mil in 2011 and under 10 mil this year. If the NFL is going to nail Dallas for the Austin deal then the Bears should get penalized too.

  59. jjmoe says: Mar 12, 2012 11:44 PM

    WHAT the What? This is crazy, over the rainbow, bars in the window, toy’s in the attic crazy! Madman circle “logic”. Let me get this right: The NFL didn’t want to be caught in a collusion lawsuit, so they didn’t put the “rule” in writing, nor had owners sign an agreement to this. Now they want to punish two teams because they didn’t follow what would have been an illegal collusion. SOOOO now in order to enforce this punishment the NFL is COLLUDING with the NFLPA to punish two of the teams that pay it’s players the most!!!!!!??????? WTF Goodall, you’re destroying this league—eat a D!

  60. coachglove says: Mar 12, 2012 11:48 PM

    WHY the NFL approved the contracts is moot. THAT they approved them is all that matters. This is a stupid move buy the NFL as Jones and Snyder are definitely not owners to shy away from a fight. Al Davis was a mentor to Jones and Jones has already sued and won to sell Pepsi at his stadium, so taking almost 10% of his budget away is likely to provoke a reaction from him. If the league didn’t want loopholes, they shouldn’t have allowed/created them. This lawsuit ends in discovery of team financials in order for a judge to determine what the actual cap should be (and that’s IF the NFL wins). No chance this ends here.

  61. Grinds My Gear says: Mar 13, 2012 12:11 AM

    Revis – 18m optional bonus + 2m base salary
    Peppers – 20m base salary, 36m total cap hit
    Brady – 16m

    3 other teams abused this and yet only 4 teams get punished. 2 of which were minor infractions compared to the 3 above.

  62. mjkelly77 says: Mar 13, 2012 12:15 AM

    Crybaby Cowboy and Redskin fans. Imagine this .. a multi-billionaire owner signs 20 to 25 of the best players in the NFL to four year contracts which total over $200 million. But they’re all expensed in the uncapped year. Then they play three more years with a zero cap hit. Sound fair? I didn’t think so, either.

  63. adlent says: Mar 13, 2012 12:32 AM

    The funniest part about all of this (coming from a Skins fan) is that, like the article said, the Bengals have close to 50mil and will get another 1.6. Several others teams are waaaay under the cap and won’t spend. The NFLPA agrees to this bogus crap to get 4mil more onto the salary cap for a bunch of teams that won’t spend it.

    Who would have spent a lot of money in free agency? The Cowboys and the Redskins.

    So you sold out to the NFL for a higher cap and distributed it to a handful of teams that won’t spend… and you robbed two other spenders of the ability to pay your player base.

    If I were the NFLPA clients, I’d question my union.

  64. Angry Orange Man says: Mar 13, 2012 12:53 AM

    As a Giants fan I sincerely hate both of these teams. That being said, I don’t see how this equates to a violation of the rules. What is an uncapped year if it has a cap?

  65. applecool1981 says: Mar 13, 2012 2:47 AM

    hailer21 “man, collusion sure is a bitch”

    No, Goodell is.

    He doesn’t have a fair system for players to appeal their suspensions, as he, the person who dictated is, is the one who hears it. Now, it turns out that he’s colluding with the NFLPA over something that he had no jurisdiction over.

  66. discosucs2005 says: Mar 13, 2012 6:58 AM

    @gweez76

    Rule is for lack of a better word, but it sounds like they knew what they were allowed to do, and knew there would be potential punishments for doing so. My point still applies.

    I really could care less about this whole thing, but the only thing I find frustrating is that several posters who are outraged by the NFL’s ruling here have taken the NFL’s side in other rulings that were just as egregious and absent of clarity. What that suggests is that a lot of people who are actively posting are posting out of bias.

    There should be more clarity on this whole thing. And if knew facts arrive, we should all adjust are opinions accordingly, but as of now, if the teams knew that punishment was a possibility, than they assumed the risk when they broke the rules, and deserve to be punished.

    The amount of that punishment, if they actually broke the rules, if they knew, if other teams did as well, are all up for debate.

    But I don’t think it is very wise for these owners to put huge amounts of cap space on the line because they believe that they have found a loophole.

  67. mattwa33186 says: Mar 15, 2012 7:15 AM

    I can’t remember where I saw it, might even have been here.

    But before the uncapped year started, someone said that the old CBA had a clause that said new guaranteed money would accelerate into the second capped year, and some salary based on what the new cap was. The point was to prevent guys like Paul Allen, Jerry Jones, Dan Snyder, and Steve Ross from taking over the league by dumping 90% of their payroll for the next 6 years into the uncapped year.

    So that clause would clearly have been pre-negotiated. What the league did was different, but actually less punitive than the original rule.

  68. jrh0 says: May 4, 2012 9:25 AM

    So they essentially were concerned about the SKins and Cowoys manipulating the situation, when in reality, the league was MANIPULATING THE SITUATION.

    Hey, we can’t make a rule about this, because that tule would clearly be illegal, but well make an under the table warning to every team not to violate the rule we WOULD have made if it was legal, and punish the teams that don’t comply.

    Then, we’ll buy off the players association to back us after the fact.

    Who was really concerned about this rule in the first place? The whole thing was pushed by John Mara. The penalties were penned and announced by John Mara. The decision to wait until the most damaging time (the night before free agency) to announce the penalties, made by John Mara.

    Hmm… Could old Johnny boy’s desire to see these two teams hamstrung have ANYTHING to do with him co-owning the Giants? The only two teams getting hammered inthis whole deal just happen to be rivals in the Giants division. Nobody sees an issue with this???

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!