Arbitrator dismisses Redskins salary cap grievance

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The Redskins’ grievance challenging their $36 million salary cap penalty was dismissed by arbitrator Stephen Burbank, NFL executive vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash told reporters Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Atlanta.

A Redskins spokesman declined to comment.

The NFL docked Washington a total of $36 million in salary cap space over the next two seasons for moving expensive contracts into the uncapped 2010 season. The league considered it an attempt to gain a competitive advantage.

The NFL imposed the penalty on the eve of the new league year in March, and the NFL Players Association approved it. That both parties in the collective bargaining agreement signed off on the penalty likely weakened the Redskins’ grievance.

According to a league source with knowledge of the situation, owners would not set the 2012 salary cap and move forward into the new league year until the union agreed to one of two options: either a lower salary cap in 2012 than in 2011, or salary cap penalties against the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, with that cap space distributed equally among 28 other clubs. New Orleans and Oakland were excluded from the redistribution because owners determined they engaged in similar contract-shifting practices to a lesser extent.

Because the NFLPA represents players employed by all teams, not just the Redskins or Cowboys, it agreed to the option that pays the most money to players throughout the league, even though that came at the expense of Washington and Dallas.

According to a source, the league penalized the Redskins and Cowboys in March despite the fact neither were found to have violated the collective bargaining agreement. The league retroactively penalized the Washington and Dallas despite approving those disputed contracts at the time.

The Redskins had little more than $18 million subtracted from the $31 million in salary cap space with which they expected to enter 2012. The rest of the penalty is scheduled to affect their 2013 cap.

The Cowboys, who were penalized $10 million, also had their grievance dismissed.

Washington and Dallas presented their case to Burbank in Pennsylvania on May 10.

 

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