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The lack of cap space casts into doubt whether the Redskins can re-sign Pro Bowl special teamer Lorenzo Alexander. Alexander has expressed his desire to re-sign and is willing to do so as long as the team is competitive with other offers. Even with the possibility of a discount, Shanahan made no promises.

“I hope we can compete with [other teams] financially,” Shanahan said. “But at the same time, he’s got to do what’s best for him and his family. We’ll find out and see if we’re in the ballpark, and hopefully we are.”

Such uncertainty followed the Redskins‘ resignation that their salary cap space is gone for good.

Allen and Shanahan held out hope until recently that the NFL would give back some of the space it stripped from them, they said.

“We feel comfortable where we’re at as a team and our mindset getting ready for the season, but we’ll always look at our options,” Allen said.

The team never contemplated suing the league to regain cap space, he said.

“I know it’s like lawyer fantasy or fantasy lawyering and the different theories people can do,” Allen said.

Acceptance did not replace bitterness, though. Allen skewered the league and the NFL Players Association for agreeing last March to amend the 2011 collective bargaining agreement to include the cap penalty.

The league proposed the penalty, alleging the Redskins used the absence of a salary cap in 2010 to gain a competitive advantage by restructuring contracts to include large bonus payments that year.

The NFLPA claims the league strong-armed it into agreeing to the penalty. Union officials have said the league threatened to reduce the 2011 salary cap if the NFLPA did not agree to the penalty.

Allen said he does not believe the Redskins are being punished for refusing to engage in collusion. He insisted the Redskins never were warned they might be penalized for moving bonus payments into the uncapped 2010 season. He also is unsure how the league came up with the amount it penalized the team.

“Despite the fact that the NFL and the NFLPA supposedly represent all the clubs and all the players in the league, we don’t feel we were fairly represented in this case,” Allen said. “As we stated before and has been confirmed by the NFL, every contract we submitted to the NFL and the NFLPA during the [2010] season was reviewed and approved by both the commissioner’s office and the NFL Players Association.

“Unfortunately, we’ve heard four different stories on how the number $36 million was reached at by the NFL and the NFLPA. Therefore we do not have an answer yet on what the truth is as to how they reached that number.”

He holds the NFL and NFLPA accountable for the penalty.

“They agreed to this,” Allen said. “As with any rule that is an agreement between the two, all the teams have to abide by it.”

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