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Reports: Redskins, Cowboys To Challenge Salary Cap Penalties

By ZAC BOYER | | @ZacBoyer

The Washington Redskins have filed a formal grievance against the NFL and the NFL Players’ Association after their salary cap room was reduced the day before free agency began two weeks ago.


According to multiple reports, the Redskins challenged the assessment handed down on March 12, which forced them to surrender $36 million in available funds. That restricted the team to having only roughly $17 million to spend on free agents this offseason, instead of the approximately $35 million it expected to have when the league year began the following day.

Dallas, which was also penalized by the league, has joined the Redskins in filing a grievance, which is allowed under a provision in the collective bargaining agreement. An independent arbiter will hear the case at a future date.

Both teams have denied wrongdoing, claiming that the penalties were assessed unjustly. The Redskins were docked $36 million, to be split over this year and the next, for paying roster bonuses to former defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and cornerback DeAngelo Hall in 2010. That season, the last under the previous collective bargaining agreement, did not have a salary cap, and NFL representatives contend doing so violated recommendations about the salary structure and led to competitive imbalance. With the Redskins paying those bonuses that season, they were not obligated to pay them in future years, thus freeing up money to sign other players.

John Mara, one of the owners of the New York Giants and the head of the NFL’s Management Council Executive Committee – which levied the penalties – stood by the penalties when speaking in Palm Beach, Fla., the site of the mandatory owners’ meetings taking place this week.

“What they did was in violation of the spirit of the salary cap,” Mara told reporters. “They attempted to take advantage of a one-year loophole, and quite frankly, I think they’re lucky they didn’t lose draft picks. … They attempted to take advantage of it knowing full well there would be consequences.”

Redskins general manager Bruce Allen and head coach Mike Shanahan, both questioned at the meetings, declined comment and referred questions to the commissioner’s office.

The agreement reached between the league and the players’ association effectively raised the salary cap by as much as $6 million to $120.6 million for this season.