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League, Redskins talked about salary cap controversy on Tuesday


As the Redskins were rounding up a bunch of receivers on Tuesday (they landed Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan, and they’re working on Eddie Royal), the team also was trying to plead its case with the league office regarding Monday’s decision to strip $36 million in cap space from the team for treating the “uncapped year” of 2010 too literally.

Per a league source, the Redskins engaged in a conference call with the league office regarding the situation.

And the conversation, we’re told, included the league conceding to G.M. Bruce Allen that the Redskins violated no rules and did nothing wrong. The league explained that the Redskins’ actions (and the Cowboys’) “affected competitive balance.”

As we’ve previously mentioned, both in print and during Tuesday’s PFT Live, what about the teams that opted to underspend in the year with no salary cap or salary floor? Those teams also necessarily affected competitive balance by choosing to be uncompetitive.

The bottom line is that every team could have done what the Cowboys and Redskins did. The notion that not every team had the cash flow to do it, which was advanced on Tuesday’s NFL Live by former Colts Vice Chairman Bill Polian, is more than a little misleading. The Cowboys, for example, opted to give receiver Miles Austin $17 million in 2010. The Cowboys characterized it as base salary and not as a signing bonus to limit the impact in future years under the cap. That’s not an issue of cash flow. And any team giving a player a signing bonus in 2010 could have used this tactic instead.

Besides, without a salary cap, teams with greater cash flow have the right to try to disrupt competitive balance by spending more money, even if it usually doesn’t work. (Indeed, the Cowboys and Redskins failed to get to the postseason in 2010 or 2011.) A cap is put in place to prevent the spend-to-win arms race, and the cap was removed in 2010 to give the owners an incentive to replace the CBA before risking that teams would try to buy a championship in the uncapped year.

What many in the media are missing is that this entire controversy proves the league engaged in collusion in 2010, and that the Redskins and Cowboys are suffering the consequences now for refusing two years ago to participate in a violation of the labor laws.