I wonder if Mr. Snyder is having a good time at the NFL owners' meeting in Florida this week.
The league bushwhacked the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys for $46 million salary cap. It turns out that the NFL Management Council did the whacking for using the no-cap year (2010) under the old Collective Bargaining Agreement to bring order to the teams' contract structure. It was a mess, thanks to contracts that the despised Vinny Cerrato signed with Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall.
Full disclosure, your Hog Heaven writers applauded GM Bruce Allen's work to pull salary ahead to the no cap year so that Washington could compete for talent in the future without crippling dead cap money so characteristic of Snyderrato. We are not about to slam the team now for doing it even with the questionable loss of $36 million of salary cap imposed by the league.
In its statement acknowledging that the Redskins and Cowboys filed a grievance against the NFL, the league cited the teams' actions for creating "an unacceptable risk to future competitive balance, particularly in light of the relatively modest salary cap growth projected for the new agreement’s early years."
News outlets published the full statement, but I could not find it this morning anywhere on NFL.com. Mr. Snyder and Jerry Jones made their case to the owners yesterday, according to Albert Breer's NFL.com story, and then excused themselves so that the owners "could discuss the legalities of the case."
Um, shouldn't Snyder and Jones been give the chance to make the argument before sanctions were imposed? If the full owners had time to vote on this before, they would not have to consider legalities now, after Dallas and Washington filed their grievance.
Rich Tandler, the dean of Redskins bloggers, did the best job debunking the league's statement, so I'll just refer you to his story, Parsing the NFL's cap penalty statement, on RealRedskins.com.
There is one other point to add. Allen took the action so that the Redskins could compete under the new salary cap structure. As things stood, Washington would have been hindered by those contracts with Messrs. Haynesworth and Hall "in light of the relatively modest salary cap growth...."
Could it be that the Management Council wanted the Redskins to suffer the full consequences of contract stupidity of its own making? Perhaps, but businesses do get to correct mistakes. That's what the Redskins did under existing rules.
The "spirit" of the rule should be reflected in the rule itself. The spirit of the no cap clause in the old CBA was to prompt both owners and players to make nice on a new deal. The prompt for the players was to avoid small market teams operating below the salary cap floor. The prompt for the owners was to avoid incenting some owners from fixing contract mistakes. Four owners, Snyder, Jones, Al Davis and Tom Benson, did that to preserve competitive balance.
We know that no cap did not work. There was a lockout -- an assault on the spirit of the no cap clause. Players lost income. Owners lost offseason revenue. Isn't that cost enough?
The spirit of Bountygate lives on
Commissioner Goodell said yesterday that the league has not closed the investigation of Gregg Williams' bounty practices at his former teams, the Redskins and the Buffalo Bills. The league just hasn't come across clear evidence of wrong doing. Nobody has said that the Redskins defied league guidance. But, if they do come across such evidence, expect the league to pounce, especially against a franchise the league thinks flouts its good advice.
The Saints' defiance in end bounties triggered the harshness of the leagues' response. The commissioner's office became aware of the Saints' practice in 2009 and told the team to stop it. Instead, Head Coach Sean Payton and Defensive Coordinator Williams took the practice underground and embellished it. Pull the tiger by the tail and you get your head bit off.
From all the news the sports writers have dug up, the Redskins never took the practice as far as the Saints did and the team was never instructed to put an end to whatever Williams was doing.
Since the league decides these things on an ad hoc basis however, I'd just like for the former Redskins who are defending Williams with the "happens all the time" argument to shut the bleep up. We got enough trouble.
What Williams encouraged was wrong, OK? It didn't work for the Redskins anyhow. Washington lost the 2005 playoff game against Seattle when we knocked Shaun Alexander out early, but failed to stop Matt Hasselbeck. And that was Washington's only 10-win team of the millennium, too.
Goodell would like to bring tackling back to tackle football. I applaud the effort.
The NFL owners meeting runs through Wednesday (tomorrow). Last year at this time, Jerry Jones and Jerry Richardson, then chairman of the Management Council, was playing bad cop to Peydon Manning, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, on the eve of the lockout. See? Things are better.