The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins were penalized a collective $46 million against the salary cap for manipulating said cap in 2010; something the NFL warned against, telling all 32 clubs that it could come back to hurt them once a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was reached. Now that it has, and now that they're fighting it, New York Giants co-owner and NFL Management Committee chairman John Mara has lashed out at them, reminding each team that they're lucky all they lost was the salary cap space.
“I thought the penalties imposed were proper,” Mara said. “What they did was in violation of the spirit of the salary cap. They attempted to take advantage of a one-year loophole, and quite frankly, I think they’re lucky they didn’t lose draft picks.”
Because of the loophole year in 2010, teams weren't given exact parameters and there were no rules -nor punishments- set in stone. And despite the warnings, the league did approve all contracts, including those of Miles Austin, Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall – all of which were used as an example of exploiting the loophole and the non-capped season.
On Sunday, the Cowboys and Redskins filed a joint grievance against the NFL, he NFL Management Council and the NFL Players Association, challenging the removal and redistribution of the $46 million in cap space ($36 million for the Skins, $10 million for the Cowboys). And ultimately, the sticking point of the grievance is that both teams are being punished for "refusing to engage in illegal collusion" the year prior to the NFL Lockout.
The league contends that the arbitration will proceed under Article 15 of the CBA, which provides for “system arbitration” by Special Master Stephen Burbank and review by an Appeals Panel.
A federal lawsuit could ultimately be the direction this is heading.
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