It was surprising, to say the least, to see the Washington Post report regarding the willingness of the NFL Players Association to support the efforts of the Redskins to recover via the legal system $36 million in salary-cap space that was stripped of the franchise for treating the uncapped year as, well, uncapped.
Lost in the lengthy Post article is one undeniable reality that will make it difficult, if not impossible, for the NFLPA to do anything: Last year, the union agreed to $46 million in penalties against the Redskins and Cowboys as part of the quid pro quo that bumped the salary cap from $120 million to $120.6 million.
Though it was in the league’s interests to find a way to prevent the cap from contracting (which it would have done but for a measure of mathematical magic), NFLPA leadership had a much more urgent reason to prevent a shrinkage of the cap only seven months after the new labor deal had been signed. Executive director DeMaurice Smith was up for re-election later that month, and an ouster would have been far more likely if the team-by-team spending limit had shrunk.
The union, then, would have agreed to pretty much anything to get the cap to go up — and it’s mildly surprising that the NFL didn’t push for even more. Talking now about joining the Redskins in a possible legal challenge against the NFL serves only to stir a dog that is better left sleeping.
Put simply, the Redskins are in the mess because the NFLPA’s agreed they would be. With friends like that, the Redskins would never again need another enemy.