- The Washington Times - Monday, March 26, 2012

PALM BEACH, Fla. — General manager Bruce Allen and other top members of the Washington Redskins’ organization appear determined to fight their $36 million salary-cap penalty in private.

Allen, owner Daniel Snyder and coach Mike Shanahan declined to publicly comment Monday on the team’s challenge of the penalty levied by the league and agreed upon by the union.

However, the Redskins did explain their case to 30 other teams during the first day of the owners’ meetings here, according to an NFL Network report. The Dallas Cowboys, who separately were penalized $10 million, reportedly joined the Redskins in that explanation.

Commissioner Roger Goodell disputed a Sports Business Journal report that the other 30 owners voted to affirm the sanctions.

Goodell otherwise declined to comment on the matter, deferring to an informational news release the league distributed Monday afternoon.

The NFL, for the first time, confirmed the Redskins have been penalized $36 million in salary-cap space. Half of that applies to 2012 and the other half to 2013.

No date has been set for an arbitration hearing. The league confirmed that clubs on Monday were advised of the proceeding’s status.

Monday’s silence followed Sunday’s strong comments from New York Giants owner John Mara, who also is the chairman of the NFL Management Committee, which levied the penalties.

“I thought the penalties imposed were proper,” Mara told reporters Sunday. “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.”

Mara, whose Giants compete in the NFC East division against Washington and Dallas, defended the league’s actions against charges of collusion.

“This has nothing to do with collusion,” he said. “It has to do with teams attempting to gain a competitive advantage through a loophole in the system. They attempted to take advantage of it knowing full well there would be consequences. There was nothing wrong with the individual contracts, but when you look at the overall scope of what they did, they were trying to take advantage and they were told not to.”

Notes: The NFL’s investigation of bounties remains ongoing, commissioner Goodell said, and he left open the possibility other teams besides the New Orleans Saints still could be subject to penalties.

Former Redskins defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, who is suspended indefinitely for the bounty program he ran in New Orleans, offered Redskins players non-contract bonus payments during his time in Washington, former Redskins safety Matt Bowen recently wrote in the Chicago Tribune.

“Because of the time frame and because of the meetings, we have not met with people we will meet with as soon as these meetings are over,” Goodell said. “We’ll continue. We have not said everybody has a free pass here. We’re saying that we’re going to continue to pursue the information that we get that is credible.”

• The Redskins were not among the 15 teams awarded compensatory draft picks. The compensatory value of the free agents they signed before the 2011 season exceeded the value of those they lost, the NFL determined. The league calculates compensatory value using a formula that includes elements of salary, playing time and postseason honors.

• Rich Campbell can be reached at rcampbell@washingtontimes.com.

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