Their reported plan to file a lawsuit that could delay the start of free agency ended up being a bluff. But when it comes to pursuing a return of their $36 million in stolen cap space, the Redskins aren’t ready to yield.
While it’s unclear whether the Redskins will pull the pin on a litigation grenade that could put a chunk of shrapnel in the rear end of every NFL team (including the Redskins), the Redskins still aren’t letting it go, according to a source familiar with the thinking of the front office. With all teams convening in Phoenix starting next Sunday for the annual league meetings, that also could be the site of the team’s last-ditch effort to broker a deal.
If no deal can be struck, the question becomes whether Redskins owner Daniel Snyder will file an antitrust lawsuit against his partners, essentially claiming that the NFL punished the Redskins and the Cowboys for not observing rules of the uncapped year that didn’t appear in the collective bargaining agreement between the 32 franchises and the NFLPA.
While the case, on the surface, has plenty of appeal, having one NFL team accuse the bulk of them of collusion would attract plenty of interest elsewhere.
Even though the NFL already has defeated the union’s effort to sue for collusion that obviously occurred in 2010, the NFLPA could still pursue other avenues once the Redskins file a civil complaint that amounts to a smoking gun. For example, we’ll possibly hear all over again about the NFL’s tax-exempt status and broadcast antitrust exemption in an effort to get Congress to threaten to take action in response to what could easily be construed as obvious proof of corruption in one of the most public of all American endeavors.
And so the Redskins sit at the poker table. The question isn’t whether they have a good hand; they’ve got a Royal Flush. The question is whether they’ll be willing to show their cards where doing so could put the entire operation into the toilet.