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Delay could hurt a Redskins lawsuit

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On Monday, a report surfaced that the Redskins could file a lawsuit against the league challenging the lingering $18 million in cap penalties.  As shocking as that prospect would be standing alone, the report also suggested that the Redskins could seek an injunction aimed at delaying the start of all NFL free agency until their challenge to the cap penalty is resolved.

Since Monday, there have been no further developments — apart from news that the Cowboys won’t be spooning on the litigation mattress with their arch rivals.  (Of course, the Cowboys wouldn’t need to; if the penalties are overturned as to the Redskins, notions of competitive balance would compel the league to overturn the penalties as to the Cowboys.)

Here’s the biggest problem that the Redskins would encounter, if they try to delay the launch of free agency:  They made it to the playoffs in 2012 despite enduring the first half of the $36 million cap charge.  The fact that the Redskins took their medicine in 2012 and still qualified for the postseason will make it harder to show that they will suffer “irreparable harm” by entering free agency without their $18 million in cap space.

That’s what the Redskins will have to prove in order to delay free agency — that proceeding to free agency without $18 million will hurt them in a way that no eventual judgment could ever fix.  Given that they thrived in 2012 without the other $18 million, a judge would likely say that the Redskins won’t be irreparably harmed by waiting for a possible $36 million cap credit in the future, if they win in court.

Then there’s the fact that the Redskins delayed filing suit until the brink of 2013 free agency.  While the statute of limitations applies to the availability of “legal” remedies (i.e., the payment of money), waiting too long could make it harder to obtain “equitable” relief (i.e., an order blocking the start of free agency until the case is resolved).  The NFL would argue that the Redskins could have filed this suit at any point in the past year, giving it a chance to get the issue resolved before 2013 free agency begins.

Of course, the Redskins likely waited because of the NFLPA collusion case that the Redskins’ strenuous objection to the cap penalties spawned.  Now that the collusion coast is clear, the Redskins can go forward.

That likely won’t help the Redskins in court, because it’s unlikely that the Redskins would admit that they waited due to collusion concerns.

It all adds up to a bluff by the Redskins that if push comes to shove would likely fail on the issue of blocking the start of free agency.  But if the goal is to recover the $36 million in lost cap money, the Redskins would likely win.

Eventually.

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56 Responses to “Delay could hurt a Redskins lawsuit”
  1. marc2k6 says: Feb 27, 2013 11:07 AM

    Redskins should have done this last season! How is the NFL going to penalize a team for over spending on contracts that the NFL approved during an uncapped year!?

  2. S.Nevada says: Feb 27, 2013 11:10 AM

    This whole thing is still the biggest sham in sports.

    That’s alright. They were still the NFC East champs with one hand tied behind their back.

  3. clw1906 says: Feb 27, 2013 11:12 AM

    I totally this agree they could say it is preventing them from Further developing be a roster with potential talent. They could also argue that the other teams have Future advantages by signing potential free agents that would help them this season in the future. Although the Lee could argue that the Redskins waited the Redskins can also argue that they were hit blindsided by this penalty hours before the opening free Agency And this in essence is exactly the same approach the league took in imposing a penalty on them

  4. ahsinnyc says: Feb 27, 2013 11:13 AM

    But it was OK for the Skins to hear about the cap penalty 24-hours before FA started?

  5. fuglyflorio says: Feb 27, 2013 11:14 AM

    Little Danny should do everything he can to be the new Al Davis. That worked out great for the Raiders.

  6. rgtre10 says: Feb 27, 2013 11:14 AM

    I disagree, they may have had more cap wiggle room last year as opposed to this year, and unlike last year they are aware of the penalty and aren’t being notified about it minutes before free agency opened up. I’m still miffed as to how the said league higher archy stated they did nothing wrong by the rules…but yet were still penalized, that nothing has been done to reenstate the money lost. The more Goodell and his goons get away with stuff the more it looks like the NFL is corrupt and laden with collusion.

  7. flavordave says: Feb 27, 2013 11:16 AM

    They should be more concerned that they have 2 meaningless playoff wins since 1992. Cousins is their only hope this year with the irresponsible coaching and game management of RG3.

  8. deddmunnie says: Feb 27, 2013 11:17 AM

    Blow the whole GD thing up.

  9. bobonmycob says: Feb 27, 2013 11:19 AM

    Just kick the deadskins out of the NFL…team is horrible from the top to the bottom.

  10. tannethrill says: Feb 27, 2013 11:22 AM

    This seems like it might work out for them. Would be a huge win for them.

    I wonder if them and Jerry have been playing chicken waiting for the other to play the role of bad guy?

  11. draftazoid says: Feb 27, 2013 11:24 AM

    $18 million returned means a Starting Cornerback and possibly 2 Starting Safeties on the first day of Free Agency.
    Go Danny Go!

  12. getyourownname says: Feb 27, 2013 11:25 AM

    Wouldn’t be the first time Little Danny has demonstrated a tin ear about legal strategies. Or tried to bully his way, although usually he does this against people who don’t have his resources.

  13. blackqbwhiterb says: Feb 27, 2013 11:26 AM

    Redskins got hosed deliberately along with Dallas on the eve of free agency last year by John Mara & Co…. Nothing was done to Chicago with the Julius Peppers contract, and I’m sure there’s more examples of dumping salary into the uncapped year…. All the contracts in question were approved by the league office at the time. Redskins deserve a chance to get even, if you ask me. I know you ain’t asking, but I’m still saying

  14. Beezo-Doo-doo-Zippity-Bop-bop-bop says: Feb 27, 2013 11:29 AM

    Just like RGIII the Redskins don’t have a leg to stand on.

  15. joebagadonuts says: Feb 27, 2013 11:31 AM

    The major difference between last year and this year is that the Redskins were in much better shape with respect to the salary cap last year than they are this year. They had enough cap space in 2012 to be able to absorb the last-minute cap hit and still make some significant signings.

    This year, they’re over the cap already, with several of their own key free agents to re-sign. I think that’s enough of an argument for possibly suffering irreparable harm, though I can’t see any judge having the cahones to order a delay to the start of free agency, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.

  16. pixelito says: Feb 27, 2013 11:36 AM

    Snyder Whines, Mara wins Superbowls.

  17. cooklynn17 says: Feb 27, 2013 11:38 AM

    S.Nevada says: Feb 27, 2013 11:10 AM

    This whole thing is still the biggest sham in sports.

    That’s alright. They were still the NFC East champs with one hand tied behind their back.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Absolutely true, of course the Redskins also won just as many playoff games as the other 3 teams in the East….0.

    Good job guys!!!

  18. peytonsneck18 says: Feb 27, 2013 11:39 AM

    Redskins are a true joke of a franchise, send them to LA and change their name to the Cornballs

  19. desmondclee says: Feb 27, 2013 11:40 AM

    Your point about “irreparable harm” is wrong. The main thing the Redskins need to show is that, if they were to win, money damages wouldn’t compensate the loss they’d suffer if they went into free agency with all that cap space. That loss would be the forgone opportunities at landing some free agents and the consequent personnel decisions (e.g., the draft) made based on those free agent acquisitions not just by them but all the other teams in the NFL. If free agency were to proceed and teams were able to sign free agents the Redskins might otherwise have been able to afford with the $18M in cap space, there’d simply be no way for a court to unscramble the proverbial omelet and start the whole free agency process anew in addition to all the personnel decisions made based on free agents acquired or lost. Of course, the issue of irreparable harm is much more complicated than that, but the general parameters of a winning argument are there for the Redskins.

    Assuming the Redskins get past that hurdle, they still have other elements they need to satisfy in securing an injunction. One big one is whether they’d be able to show a probability of success on the merits. Another would be the balance of equities between the Redskins interest in vindicating their free agency rights and the potential harm that would be visited on the rest of the league, free agents, and college players if free agency were to be delayed. (E.g., how do you have a draft in late April if free agency hasn’t started by then? Maybe you could, but some teams may contend that they’ve started to make personnel decisions based on contractual provisions, etc based on the NFL’s calendar and that any delay would hurt them and players involved.)

  20. desmondclee says: Feb 27, 2013 11:43 AM

    Like I said, the point about the Skins being NFC East champs last year is irrelevant to an irreparable harm analysis. The issue is whether the court, if the Redskins win their lawsuit, could award them money to compensate for any losses they’d suffer if they went into free agency without all that cap space. The answer is obviously not.

  21. madczyk says: Feb 27, 2013 11:44 AM

    I completely disagree. I get where your coming from but the point of the NFL isn’t to get to the playoffs, it’s to win the super bowl. The Redskins performed far better than expected last year but they still didn’t win the super bowl. Only one team any year ever really “wins” in the NFL. The Redskins can easily argue that they could have been a better team last year with more cap space and greater flexibility in free agency because they didn’t actually “win”.

  22. draftazoid says: Feb 27, 2013 11:45 AM

    John Mara is looking for a way to screw the Eagles now. He took take of the Redskins and Cowboys in their division. Look for a draft night bombshell wher the Eagles will forfeit at least a 2nd round draft pick. It’s the Mara way, and Giants, of doing business.

  23. dcbronco says: Feb 27, 2013 11:50 AM

    Going to the playoffs doesn’t hurt their case. If that is true RGIII getting hurt helps their case since one of their main goals last off-season was getting a right tackle. That cap hit prevented that. Since RGIII was huge part of the reason they made the playoffs the cap hit causing them to potentially lose him outweighs the playoff appearance.

  24. dirtydrynn27 says: Feb 27, 2013 11:51 AM

    Snyder beat Maras team 3 out of the last 4 meetings! Mara colludes but Snyder fights for his teams rights! I use to hate the Cowboys but its the Giants I hate now! right along with their ignorant misinformed fans!

  25. mikea311 says: Feb 27, 2013 12:00 PM

    wait so the one year they weren’t allowed to try and buy a championship that actually had to think about their personnel and did something during the season and they want to try and change that?

    lol, they will always suck.

  26. gonavybeatarmy says: Feb 27, 2013 12:06 PM

    Mara illegally colludes, Mara inherits from rich daddy.

  27. patljr7 says: Feb 27, 2013 12:07 PM

    The NFL really saying we should have done this during the season? Last year they gave us the penalty a day before free agency, dont be hypocrites.

  28. weaponx73 says: Feb 27, 2013 12:11 PM

    Man are people dense the Redskins and the boys werent penalized for over spending. They were penalized for using the uncapped year to cut players that they couldnt in a capped year because the dead money would kill them. But they didnt listen and used it to dump Haynesworth and other bad free agent gets. This does effect competitive balance and it was an instance of the nfl looking out for the players. So if you are going to cry like a chick with a skinned knee over this get your facts straight. Atleast then you only look like a homer not a moron.

  29. weneedlinemen42 says: Feb 27, 2013 12:17 PM

    1) The cap penalty was levied the day before free agency began.

    2) There supposedly was the option to take it to arbitration.

    The arbitrator strung this process out quite unnecessarily because in the end his multi-page report amounted to:

    “I am not even going to consider the case. Given that the union signed off on it, it doesn’t fall within my remit.”

    The Redskins and Cowboys didn’t lose the case in arbitration. The special arbitrator essentially refused to hear any arguments regarding the way the Redskins and Cowboys operated during the uncapped year.

    Timing alone provides a justifiable reason for why the Redskins did not file a court case last year. Free agency was essentially already over before the arbitration process disappeared in a puff of indifference.

    As for making the play-offs making it hard to prove that a second $18m penalty will cause harm, they just have to detail the contracts of the players they will have to cut in order to get in under the cap.

    The Redskins will surely be allowed to represent the interest of their contracted players. The NFLPA certainly didn’t when they signed off. There certainly would not be any conflict there.

    The lesson is: if the majority of the owners agree, and can get the agreement of the NFLPA to agree ,they can retrospectively changes the rules and apply any penalty they feel like, to whomever they feel like.

    It was the Redskins and Cowboys this time. It could be your team next.

  30. whoisadamjones says: Feb 27, 2013 12:24 PM

    fuglyflorio says: Feb 27, 2013 11:14 AM

    Little Danny should do everything he can to be the new Al Davis. That worked out great for the Raiders.
    _________
    Al Davis is and was one of the greatest owners in the history of professional sports. His terrible eye for talent towards the end of his life should not overshadow his invaluable contributions to the development of the league or his revolutionary, firebrand style of leadership and ownership.

  31. getyourownname says: Feb 27, 2013 12:32 PM

    Does anyone think the Redskins and Cowboys make their decisions independent of each other?

    If they did agree, that would also be an agreement among competitors, same as the other teams agreeing not to do something, and for antitrust purposes has to be subjected to the same analysis – whether the agreement restrained trade (injured competition). For example, even agreements between competitors not to charge above a maximum price are illegal. The Redskins’ position is not as clear as some might think.

  32. biggerballz says: Feb 27, 2013 12:52 PM

    They should have a separate section for commenters, one for those who don’t understand the NFL, the convoluted CBA and think Al Davis was useless. Who would rather repeat how many championships “their” team won.

    And one for individuals who would like to have intellegent discussions.

  33. commonsensedude says: Feb 27, 2013 12:53 PM

    The lawsuit is a good idea although I think we should also warn John Mara that unless he gets his puppet Goodell to remove the fines, we’ll beat them twice again this season or at least knock them out of the playoffs, just as we did the past two years.

  34. macwomack says: Feb 27, 2013 12:53 PM

    John Mara was born naked into this world with only his Daddy’s money to cover his nakedness.

    Once he opened his pie hole to ESPN he confirmed that the league illegally colluded against the union.

    While Snyder has his own faults — at least he has never opened his pie hole and exposed his business partners as the violaters of federal labor law.

    I don’t understand why the other owner’s haven’t put a muzzel on Mara – his mouth could get them all in trouble and puts the whole anti-trust exemption at risk.

  35. whoisadamjones says: Feb 27, 2013 12:58 PM

    weaponx73 says: Feb 27, 2013 12:11 PM
    Man are people dense the Redskins and the boys werent penalized for over spending. They were penalized for using the uncapped year to cut players that they couldnt in a capped year because the dead money would kill them. But they didnt listen and used it to dump Haynesworth and other bad free agent gets. This does effect competitive balance and it was an instance of the nfl looking out for the players.
    ______
    No. More correct than most, but still essentially wrong. There were no players cut during the uncapped year by either the Cowboys or the Redskins, and every player got every penny they were owed. What both teams did was restructure contracts so that they could pay players more guaranteed money during the uncapped year, making it easier on their salary caps in the following years (or, in Haynesworth’s case, to trade him to New England).

    So no, the NFL was not looking out for the players: allowing the two richest franchises in the NFL more cap room to play around with gives more players more money. How could taking an employer’s money ever help his employees?

  36. mightymightylafootball says: Feb 27, 2013 12:58 PM

    “The fact that the Redskins took their medicine in 2012 and still qualified for the postseason will make it harder to show that they will suffer “irreparable harm” by entering (2013) free agency without their $18 million in cap space.”

    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    C’mon, Florio, get your head in the game. To quote Det. Alonzo Harris from Training Day, “This sh*t’ is chess, it ain’t checkers!”

    Think it through – wouldn’t the Redskins rebuttal to that line of thinking go something like this?

    “Well, if the team did have the extra $18m cap room, they would have done much better than a mere post-season qualification. As such, the “irreparable harm” was done in the form of lost competitiveness due to lack of cap room – competitiveness that would have been strengthened for a playoff run with better players ($18m worth of better players, to be specific). The lost revenue from an early playoff exit simply cannot be calculated”

    To quote an earlier post from another article, “Beltbuckle Danny don’t bluff about litigation…”

  37. playin2x says: Feb 27, 2013 1:01 PM

    People are naive and idiotic if they don’t think this is corrupt I don’t know what is … Mara is part of the committee that punished the cowboys and skins (as is Jerry jones who did not know of penalties against him until made public). Mara is a pos just like the Giants.. He purposely did this other wise you penalize all the teams.. Bears being one I forgot the 4th team. Wonder why the cowboys and skins got picked and nobody else .. Use the thing between your ears clowns

  38. toochilled says: Feb 27, 2013 1:16 PM

    There was nothing in writing that said the Redskins could not do what they & Dallas did. The league took it upon themselves to issue these penalties without merit. Goodell aka God, thinks he has the right to strip cap space right before free agency because he can. Wrong! If there was a written rule stating teams cannot dump salary, then it would be different, but there wasn’t…bottom line! Sue on Danny!
    Let’s be honest too, if RG3 wasn’t the QB he was, do you honestly think Rex & KC would have won the division?? The OL is not great by any means and needs work. See the Seattle game for reference. The Secondary can’t cover, so yes, the cap space is much needed to fill the holes this team has.

  39. maatopdogg32 says: Feb 27, 2013 1:18 PM

    I think the opposite as I think they have a strong case. Irreparable harm comes in when the NFL sanctioned the penalties on the eve of FA 2012. Luckily they were in good shape cap wise. The other portion is hurting when it comes to managing the cap this year. They’ll have to part ways with some of their own players and can’t sign any FA’s. The league has done them dirty and to let them get away with it would mean they can do this to other teams if they want. If I’m the Redskins I go all out and go to court. Yes, owners will despise the Redskins after the dusts settles but there is an injustice here and some illegal-backroom dealings going on. I think they have the evidence that could prove the league was involved in collusion it’s just a matter of how far the Redskins are willing to go.

  40. fuglyflorio says: Feb 27, 2013 1:23 PM

    Such whiners. Redskins and their fans are amazing crybaby puzzies.

  41. whoisadamjones says: Feb 27, 2013 1:47 PM

    playin2x says: Feb 27, 2013 1:01 PM
    Bears being one I forgot the 4th team.
    _________
    12 teams total restructured contracts to dump guaranteed money into uncapped years:
    Bears- Julius Peppers
    Eagles- DeSean Jackson
    Lions- Kyle Vandenbosch
    Raiders- Jamarcus Russell
    Vikings- Antoine Winfield
    Seahawks- Marcus Trufant
    Packers- Nick Collins
    Patriots- Matt Light
    Saints- Somebody? (Anthony Hargrove maybe)
    Panthers- used the uncapped year to cut five players without their guaranteed money counting against the cap. No other team actually cut players.

    Additionally, the Chiefs and Buccaneers used the uncapped year to spend under the legal salary floor. Though illegal and not approved by the league office,this was excused because it was an “uncapped year”. However, player contracts restructures which were approved, signed, and validated by the league office are not, apparently.

  42. therealsmiley says: Feb 27, 2013 1:57 PM

    “Irreparable harm” is not winning the Super Bowl….that’s the ultimate goal. Winning the NFC East and making the playoffs is nice…but the goal is winning the Super Bowl. There’s your “irreparable harm” goofballs. I say stop any and all free agent signings until we get it sorted out. Hail!!

  43. mjkelly77 says: Feb 27, 2013 2:05 PM

    “Given that they thrived in 2012 without the other $18 million, a judge would likely say that the Redskins won’t be irreparably harmed by waiting for a possible $36 million cap credit in the future, if they win in court.”
    ____________________

    Huh? Of course the Redskins will be harmed having $18 million less to play around with. But should litigation occur, Daniel Snyder will be ostracized from the “old boys club” so I don’t see it happening.

  44. mjkelly77 says: Feb 27, 2013 2:06 PM

    S.Nevada says:Feb 27, 2013 11:10 AM

    This whole thing is still the biggest sham in sports.

    That’s alright. They were still the NFC East champs with one hand tied behind their back.
    _____________________

    And now that hand will be on a wheelchair.

  45. baddegg says: Feb 27, 2013 2:27 PM

    Unless they won the Super Bowl with the talent they had, how can anyone say they weren’t harmed.

    You could speculate forever. “If they had better talent, they wouldn’t have had to win 7 straight to get in, then they wouldn’t have been likely to rush RG3 back, then he wouldn’t have gotten reinjured…” See how easy the speculation game is?

    The fact is, if you lost 18 M, then you won’t get as much talent, therefore you will be “harmed.”

    Any other train of thought is thinking way too much about it.

  46. paulsmith107 says: Feb 27, 2013 2:29 PM

    Hail lol have fun trying to win 5 games this year. You’ll have to cut a ton of starters and you have no draft picks lol and your franchise qb is one bum knee away from being an after though. Hope you enjoyed your one season of averageness clowns

  47. S.Nevada says: Feb 27, 2013 2:42 PM

    mjkelly77 says:
    Feb 27, 2013 2:06 PM

    And now that hand will be on a wheelchair.

    _____________________

    Please explain.
    Are you referring to London Fletchers age? Are you threatening someone? Do you expect the Redskins to increase community service efforts at the local hospitals?

    Surely you aren’t making a tired joke about a players injury.

  48. rickc402 says: Feb 27, 2013 2:51 PM

    At the start of the “uncapped” year the average for the salery cap should have about 123 mil. Given that it had increased about 4.5 mil a year and in 2009 in was 118 mil. That being said 15 teams spent more than 123 mil that year including the Giants. If you review the cap numbers, the GM’s clearly were in collusion because the Steelers, Texans and I think the Panthers all spent 122.9 mil that year.

  49. rgtre10 says: Feb 27, 2013 2:57 PM

    paulsmith107 says:
    Feb 27, 2013 2:29 PM
    Hail lol have fun trying to win 5 games this year. You’ll have to cut a ton of starters and you have no draft picks lol and your franchise qb is one bum knee away from being an after though. Hope you enjoyed your one season of averageness clowns

    __________________________

    Ah, someone needs to do their homework before opening mouth and inserting foot…first they won’t have to cut a ton of players, but your biggest goof was to say they have no draft picks…think again genius….

    They have these picks by round:

    2nd round
    3rd round
    4th round
    5th round
    5th round
    6th round
    7th round

    that is 7 picks and who knows what goes on during the draft that could be increased and or decreased based on needs or desire for a particular player.

  50. whoisadamjones says: Feb 27, 2013 5:06 PM

    I just made a list of the 20 teams that were over or within 1m of the 123m “spirit of the cap” in 2010, and the top 15 teams in terms of 2013 cap room. I expect it to be removed due to length. But basically, of the 13 teams that dumped salary into 2010, six are in the top 15 in cap room, and only four teams (Denver, Cincy, Buffalo, and Tenessee) are in the top 15 without spending over 123m in 2010, dumping salary, or spending under the imaginary cap floor.

  51. phillyfanmatt says: Feb 27, 2013 6:19 PM

    Just remember judge dotty already ruled that there was no collusion so really what legs will this case have to stand on. I honestly don’t see much of a case here. But I say good luck trying.

  52. whoisadamjones says: Feb 27, 2013 6:28 PM

    phillyfanmatt says: Feb 27, 2013 6:19 PM

    Just remember judge dotty already ruled that there was no collusion so really what legs will this case have to stand on. I honestly don’t see much of a case here. But I say good luck trying.
    ______
    He ruled that he wouldn’t challenge the ruling, not that there was no collusion.

  53. whoisadamjones says: Feb 27, 2013 6:39 PM

    The list I mentioned above won’t stay up, but these 16 teams were over the imaginary 123m cap (*team dumped salary in 2010): WAS* 178m, Dallas* 167, NO* 145, MIN* 145, SEA* 140, NYJ* 136, GB** 135, OAK*- 135, IND 133, CHI* 132, PHI* 131, NE* 128, NYG 128, SF 126, MIA 124, HOU 123.1. Four teams, fearing the wrath of Mara, were suspiciously within 1m under the “cap”: DET* 122.9, PIT 122.9, CLE 122.9, BAL 122.3.

    Of those teams, seven are in the top 15 cap room situations going into 2013: PHI (25m below), SEA (15 below), MIN (12 below), GB, NE, MIA (7, 6, 5 below), OAK (5 below). And two, KC (16 below) and Tampa (12 below) underspent the legal cap “floor” in 2010. The remaining 4 salary dumping teams all have in excess of 4.5 million in cap room, except for Detroit, who only has 2.5 right now.

  54. phillyfanmatt says: Feb 27, 2013 8:41 PM

    Thank you for clearing that up for me.

  55. gregmorris78 says: Feb 27, 2013 9:38 PM

    Goodell should show his balls and give the redskins some room back. Maybe 10mil…

    Mara is a clown though coach and team are quality projects

  56. mlandsjr says: Feb 28, 2013 7:39 AM

    The harm is in the fact they have a lot of guys on their team who qualify for free agency and no room to sign them due to the penalty.

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