- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Washington Redskins have sought arbitration to dispute the $36 million salary cap penalty the NFL and players union recently agreed to impose against them.

Arbitrator Stephen Burbank has power to enforce terms of the CBA and provide “injunctive relief,” according to the collective bargaining agreement. It’s unclear when Burbank, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, would hear the case or issue a ruling.

The specific grounds on which the Redskins are disputing the matter also were unknown.

The Redskins and Dallas Cowboys, who separately were penalized $10 million, filed for arbitration under Article 15 of the new collective bargaining agreement, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello confirmed Sunday.

A Redskins spokesman declined comment, referring all questions to the league. General manager Bruce Allen last Wednesday said it was up to the league to answer for the penalty.

On the eve of the new league year earlier this month, the Redskins were docked a total of $36 million in salary cap space over the next two seasons for moving expensive contracts into the uncapped 2010 season in what the league considered an attempt to gain a competitive advantage.

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.

Some NFL owners were displeased by how the Redskins and Cowboys restructured contracts to dump salary into the uncapped 2010 season even though neither team was found to have violated the collective bargaining agreement, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The league retroactively penalized the Redskins and Cowboys despite approving those contracts at the time.

According to a source, owners would not set the 2012 salary cap and move forward into the new league year earlier this month 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 Cowboys, with that cap space distributed equally among 28 other clubs. New Orleans and Oakland also were penalized and were punished by being excluded from the distribution.

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.

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