Report: Redskins considering legal action

February, 25, 2013
2/25/13
4:44
PM ET
I never know how to write this, because I don't want people to get their hopes up, because ultimately I don't think anything is going to happen. But the Washington Redskins apparently have not given up fighting the salary-cap penalty imposed on them by the league a year ago.

Remember that the NFL stripped the Redskins of $36 million in cap space ($18 million last year and $18 million this year) and redistributed among 28 other teams as punishment for the way the Redskins structured some contracts during the uncapped 2010 season. They also took $10 million away from the Dallas Cowboys and redistributed it among the same 28 teams. The Saints and Raiders didn't get any cap space taken away, but didn't get to share in the benefit.

Anyway, the Redskins have major cap problems this year as a result of this and, according to Mark Maske and Mike Jones of the Washington Post, are telling people they could file an injunction to delay the start of free agency in an effort to get some of this cap space back:
The Redskins have put contract negotiations with some of their players on hold, telling agents and players they remain hopeful they can recoup some of the salary cap space that was cut by the NFL last year, according to several people familiar with the situation.

Redskins officials have told those agents and players that they cannot negotiate in earnest until the salary cap matter is resolved. The players include some eligible for free agency in March and others who face the possibility of release unless their contracts are reworked, those people said.

I mean, I guess anything's possible. But since an arbitrator already rejected an effort by the Redskins and the Cowboys to get this thing reviewed, and since the owners and the players' union agreed on the punishments (after the owners threatened to reduce last year's salary cap if the union didn't agree), and since Giants owner John Mara, who chairs the committee that instituted the punishments, said a year ago that the Redskins and Cowboys were lucky they only lost cap space and not draft picks over this ... it seems pretty unlikely that the Redskins can get any satisfaction here.

Which is ridiculous, as I have written many times. The league's owners agreed on a collusive plan to restrict spending in a season that had no salary cap, knowing they were going to lock out the players the following offseason in an effort to break their union and grab a larger share of league revenues for themselves, and then in retrospect they decided they didn't like the way two teams deviated from the backroom deal. It's big-money corporate scheming at its worst, and the Redskins are right to be angry about the way they were treated. Common sense would dictate that they could get some of the cap money back.

I just think, if common sense were going to come into play here, it would have done so by now. So while I think it's noble that the Redskins are still trying, if I were a Redskins fan, I wouldn't get my hopes up.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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