With the news that arbitrator Stephen Burbank has dismissed the Redskins and Cowboys appeal of their salary cap penalties, Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones lost the best option to get the matter settled. The arbitration system works relatively quickly, it is within the framework of the NFL and the process is done behind closed doors with a minimum of potentially embarrassing information being make public. The penalty for violating a rule that was not written down anywhere--in fact, the written rule expressly permitted with Washington and Dallas did--could have been solved with a minimum of fanfare.An appeal of Burbanks dismissal may be possible. There is an appeals panel but it is not clear if a dismissal can be appealed or of there can only be an appeal if an actual decision is reached. If possible, the Redskins and Cowboys will explore going down that road but it seems likely that it will be a dead end.If that is the case, Jones and Snyder likely will have only one option left. They would have to go nuclear and file a lawsuit.Going to federal court, which presumably is where this interstate matter would have to be adjudicated, is everything that the internal arbitration isnt. Most of the process is there for the public to see, potentially embarrassing headlines will be generated on a daily basis, and the process cold drag on for months if not years. And the process is extremely expensive as thousands of billable hours are gobbled up navigating the court system.From the Redskins and Cowboys point of view, however, going to court could be the best option. The league has not fared well in front of men and women wearing robes in recent years. In 2010, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled against the NFL in the American Needle case in a 9-0 vote (when was the last time you saw that court agree like that on anything?). That the leagues effort to gain a broad antitrust exemption. Last year, the NFL lost two cases related to the labor dispute and subsequent lockout. First it was ruled that the owners had acted illegally in negotiating TV contracts that would still pay them rights fees in the event of a lockout. And then the lockout itself was declared to be illegal. Only a temporary injunction allowed the lockout to go on.The record shows that the highly-paid legal beagles retained by the league are not always the smartest guys in the room. The fact that they opined that the cap penalties would stand up in court doesnt mean that it will.But even if Jones and Snyder prevail in court if may be a pyrrhic victory. They could permanently damage relationships with other owners. In the business sense the Redskins and Cowboys organizations are more partners with those 30 other teams than they are competitors. They need each others support and votes to get things done. A long, public court battle may do them more harm in the long run than the good that would be gained from recouping the cap space.When asked after Burbanks ruling, the Redskins had no comment about their plans to pursue the case in court. We should find out what the next steps will be soon enough.
Even though it was a bright, warm Wednesday in Ashburn the Redskins held their OTA session in the practice bubble because recent rains have left their outdoor fields to soggy to use. Here are my observations from the practice:
—A few Redskins were not present and a few who were there were not participating in the drills. Jay Gruden said that OT Trent Williams is rehabbing in Texas and that LB Zach Brown is in the process of relocating to the Washington area. RB Chris Thompson and OT Morgan Moses were present, but both were spectators.
— It should be noted that even though Moses didn’t practice and is still rehabbing after ankle surgery, he still participated in the sideline-to-sideline running the team does at the end of practice.
—At rookie camp, RB Derrius Guice was first in line to do every drill. Today, he gave way to the veterans to all take their reps and then he went first among the rookies.
— “Fat Rob” Kelley never really was fat but he is now lean and mean. He also seems to be a half step quicker than he was in the past. Added competition in the form of second- and fourth-round picks being added at your position will do that to a player.
—The “starting” offensive line from left to right was Geron Christian, Shawn Lauvao, Chase Roullier, Brandon Scherff, and John Kling. The interior could well start the season; the tackle position awaits the returns of Williams, Moses, and Ty Nsekhe.
—RB Byron Marshall, who was on the team briefly last year before getting injured, looked very quick with good acceleration.
—CB Josh Norman was back with the group fielding punts. I seriously doubt that he will handle any kicks in games, even preseason games, but perhaps with DeAngelo Hall being gone he wants to be available as an emergency option. Also back with the punt returners were CB Danny Johnson, CB Greg Stroman, WR Maurice Harris, WR De’Mornay Pierson-El, and, of course, WR Jamison Crowder.
—S D.J. Swearinger spent most of the special teams practice on the sideline working on catching passes with his hands extended away from his body. A little while later, he had a chance to make an interception with his arms extended. Of course, he dropped it.
—It seems like QB Alex Smith and Crowder have some good rapport built already. Once on the right sideline and a few minutes later on the left, Smith threw a well-placed ball into Crowder, who was well covered on both occasions.
—Eventually, CB Orlando Scandrick caught on and he swatted down a quick out to Crowder.
—With Brown out, Josh Harvey-Clemons was with the first unit at inside linebacker. He’s still skinny but less so than he was last year. The second-year player was impressive in coverage, staying with Crowder step for step on a deep pass down the middle.
—The play of the day was a deep pass down the right side from Smith to WR Paul Richardson. Stroman was with the receiver step for step on the 9 route but Smith laid the ball out perfectly and Richardson made a lunging catch. Even though it doesn’t have to under the new rule, the catch did survive the ground.
—WR Cam Sims had a few impressive plays. On one, QB Colt McCoy lofted one high in the air down the right side. Sims kept his focus on the ball while two defenders lost it and made the catch.
—WR Trey Quinn had his moments. He made a good grab while being bumped by Scandrick. But a while later he dropped a fairly easy one.
—The running backs all looked good but Guice looked the best of all of them. He had an ability to cut and maintain his speed that not many have. With the warning that they were playing with no pads with no contact and not at full speed, Guice’s vision appeared to be outstanding.
More 2018 Redskins
- 53-man roster: Player one-liners, offense
- Tandler’s Take: Best- and worst-case scenarios for 2018
- The draft: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- Schedule series: Gotta beat the Cowboys
NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that allows players to remain in the locker room if they prefer but requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance.
This new policy subjects teams, but not players, to fines if any team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem.
Teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction separately though.
The NFL has released it's new National Anthem Policy. This is simply disgusting. Forcing players (if on the field) to stand is not what this country is about.— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) May 23, 2018
Do away with anthems, period. pic.twitter.com/UXznszUyut
The NFL Players Association released it's own statement after the news was made official.