NFL: Playing By Their Own Rules
Within the past week the NFL has had their hands full with the bounty situation in New Orleans. Today, the NFL dropped another bomb that doesn’t make much sense at all. Source close to the situation are reporting that the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins will be penalized salary cap space because they violated NFL rules during the uncapped year in 2010. If this is true, the timing is horrible. During the uncapped year, the Cowboys and Redskins front loaded contracts to that year so it wouldn’t hurt their salaries cap in future years. The Redskins will be penalized $36 million while the Cowboys will be penalized $10 million of cap space. Both teams can spread their penalties between this year and 2013. The problem is the timing of this decision and if the severity of the punishment.
Why would the NFL come down with a ruling like this the day before free agency? Teams plan and prepare for this day for months. They look at the guys that may be potential free agents and address their needs. The key to free agency is all about budgeting and with a day notice to now scramble to release players and reconstruct contracts, it’s not fair for the Cowboys/Redskins. Also since the “rule” that they violated was in 2010, why wait until now to penalize? Now let’s look at the reason this is all happening. The Cowboys are really being charged because of the Miles Austin contract. When the Cowboys signed Miles Austin to a six year contract for $54 million, they front loaded his 2010 salary to $17 million. They were supposed to work within the 30 percent rule where you cannot increase or decrease the salaries of a player in consecutive years. The Redskins had similar cases as well. The issue here is that the NFL has to approve each contract. Why would they approve those contracts and then penalize the teams later?
Let’s look at other issues in the past. When the Patriots were caught with “spy gate”, they were never penalized salary cap space. The Owner Robert Kraft was fined $500,000 and Head Coach Bill Belichick was fined $250,000. They lost draft picks which is major but they were clearly being dishonest and cheating the game. With the timing of the reported punishment, it puts the Cowboys and Redskins at a disadvantage. The one thing that we all will be looking for now is that if you punish these two like this, how will you punish the New Orleans Saints for having an organized bounty program?
What do you think about these developments?