Cowboys, Redskins lead the way in uncapped spending

It was long believed that, if the salary cap ever disappeared, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder would embark on an arms race, spending like drunken Steinbrenners in an effort to buy a championship.

The numbers suggest that they did.  The reality is that they didn’t.

Per a league source, the Cowboys have committed a whopping $166.5 million to player compensation in 2010.  The Redskins have pushed it even higher, spending $178.2 million.

In contrast, and as we pointed out earlier in the day, the Bucs, Chiefs, and Jaguars are each under $90 million. With the Buccaneers at $80 million, both the Cowboys and the Redskins have spent more than two dollars for every dollar spent by the Bucs.

But the Cowboys and the Redskins haven’t racked up that bill by buying new players in 2010.  Instead, both teams structured contracts in the past with an eye toward pushing large sums of money into the uncapped year.  Recently, for example, the Cowboys gave receiver Miles Austin a contract with a $17 million base salary in 2010.

Both teams run the risk that the new CBA will include some type of reallocation provision aimed at reversing the effects of contracts engineered to take full advantage of the uncapped year.  Though Jones and Snyder may regard such an outcome as unfair, two votes wouldn’t be enough to block the move.

As to each team, the maneuverings suggest that they anticipate the return of a salary cap.  Which means that they anticipate an eventual labor deal.  Which possibly is the best news we’ve heard today.