Great job by Dan Graziano over at the ESPN NFC East blog, read here.
Q: How did they get caught?
A: The complaints against the Cowboys and the Redskins for engaging in perfectly legal behavior that violated no actual rules but only the collusive backroom dictates being issued by the league came not from the league office but from the other 30 teams, who were doing what they were told while the Cowboys and the Redskins were not. The other teams demanded action, since they were the good soldiers, and so the league decided it needed to take some.
: Why did this happen the day before free agency?
A: The answer to that lies in the reason it took so long for the league to establish and announce this year’s salary cap. The union must sign off on the cap before it is approved, and it obviously took issue initially with the idea of punishing teams for spending money in an uncapped year. But the league was toying with the idea of lowering this year’s salary cap, and used this issue as a bargaining chip with the union. Basically, if the union agreed to the punishment for the Redskins and Cowboys, the cap would be $120.6 million, as it is now. But if they refused, the league was prepared to make the cap lower. I don’t know by how much, but say for the sake of argument they wanted to drop it to $116 million per team. That’d have been a total of $128 million when spread across 32 teams — a significant loss to the players if they agreed to it.
Was jusaying to JJT last night on Twitter that this is happening because the other teams were complaining that it wasn’t fair Jerry and Daniel were stretching the limits of the agreement. That’s messed up.
Here’s Bill Polian and Adam Schefter on the situation – Go here.