As expected, the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins have formally challenged the NFL by filing a grievance protesting the league’s decision to penalize both teams for 2010 salary cap practices, a punishment that will cost the teams a combined $46 million in cap room over the next two seasons.
The NFL confirmed Monday that the grievance will be heard by Professor Stephen Burbank of the University of Pennsylvania, in keeping with the collective bargaining agreement that states an independent arbitrator would settle such a dispute. No date has been set for the hearing, and the 32 clubs were advised of the grievance procedure during the first day of the annual league meetings in Palm Beach, Fla.
Both Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Redskins general manager Bruce Allen have publicly objected to the sanctions, saying the NFL approved all contracts signed during the 2010 so-called “uncapped” year.
The NFL says both teams signed deals “to avoid certain salary cap chages in 2011 and later years,” according to a statement released Monday.
Under the agreement with the NFL Players Association, the NFL says it will charge the Redskins $18 million per year for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, while charging the Cowboys $5 million each of those seasons.
The $46 million in reduced cap room for Dallas and Washington will instead be spread among 28 other clubs for the 2012 and ’13 seasons. The Saints and Raiders, which the NFL determined engaged in similar but less egregious contract practices in 2010, will not receive any additional cap room as part of the sanctions, the league announced Monday.
“The agreement will promote competitive balance without reducing the salary cap or player spending on a league-wide basis,” the NFL said in a statement.
Last week, Jones told the Dallas Morning News that his team worked within the rules and procedures of the NFL during the uncapped 2010 season.
“All our contracts were approved by the league, and you can’t approve a contract that is in violation of league rules,” said Jones, hinting at what his grievance would address. “You can’t even get it on the books if it isn’t in sync with league rules. So you start there."