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Mara says Redskins, Cowboys are lucky they didn’t lose draft picks

Press Conference To Announce A Major International Event At MetLife Stadium

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 16: Woody Johnson, Triple H and John Mara attend a press conference to announce a major international event at MetLife Stadium on February 16, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael N. Todaro/Getty Images)

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The Redskins and the Cowboys have filed a grievance challenging the imposition of cap penalties against the franchises for accounting in the uncapped year. The Chairman of the NFL Management Council Executive Committte, who also happens to be one of the owners of the New York Giants, spoke out in support of the cap penalties on Sunday.

I thought the penalties imposed were proper,” John Mara said, via Calvin Watkins of “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. . . . They attempted to take advantage of it knowing full well there would be consequences.”

Frankly, it’s not the right message -- and it’s not the right messenger.

The league still hasn’t identified the rule(s) that the Redskins and Cowboys violated, hiding instead behind disingenuous notions of “competitive balance” and, most recently “the spirit of the salary cap,” whatever that is.

The last CBA created an uncapped year in 2010. The last CBA imposed specific limits on the uncapped year. The Redskins and Cowboys took advantage of those rules. As every team could have and, frankly, should have.

The league’s effort to get teams to honor restrictions on the uncapped year that didn’t appear in the CBA constitutes collusion. Having one of the owners of a mutual rival of the two teams that got whacked speak about the situation in strident terms serves only to potentially inflame the situation -- and to nudge the Redskins and the Cowboys toward pulling the pin on a grenade that would get shrapnel on all 32 teams.

If the rhetoric from the league continues, the Redskins and Cowboys should.