The Redskins are going to have to make do with $36 million less in salary cap space over the next two years than the rest of the NFL.
The NFL announced that arbitrator Stephen Burbank has dismissed the challenge to a total of $46 million in salary cap penalties brought by the Redskins and the Cowboys.
The Redskins were hit with $36 million in penalties over a two-year period for what the league said was affecting competitive balance by redoing contracts to move some of the salary cap effects from later years into the uncapped 2010 season. The Cowboys had their cap reduced by $10 million over two years for similar actions.
It appears that Burbank agreed with the NFL’s argument that commissioner Roger Goodell has broad authority to take actions to correct competitive imbalance and that the penalties were legal since the NFLPA signed off on them. The cap space the Redskins and Cowboys were penalized was spread around to 28 of the other 30 NFL teams.
The two teams argued that the league approved all of the contracts and that while they may have been give verbal warnings about possible future consequences of violating “the spirit of the salary cap”, written warnings are required for such penalties.
With their case rejected in this forum, it remains to be seen what the Cowboys and Redskins might do next. A lawsuit is a possibility, although there may be some collateral damage done by suing the other owners and the commissioner, people with whom the Redskins and Cowboys need to do business on a regular basis.