It’s time to discuss “Capgate” here at Don’t Laugh, People. I had several lengthy rants on Twitter about it when it first happened, when the league made an official statement, and yesterday in regards to John Mara’s remarks regarding the penalties imposed on the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. Now I’m tempted to bring the rants here in an organized manner.
Firstly, the details; during the uncapped 2010 NFL Season, the Washington Redskins dumped an accumulated $36million from restructured contracts of former DT Albert Haynesworth and current CB DeAngelo Hall. What they did, effectively, was buy room to breathe when the salary cap returned… in essence grafting a wound created by former Redskins’ GM Vinny Cerrato [pictured right]. The Dallas Cowboys did roughly the same, allocating $10million from the contract of Miles Austin to save themselves some room when the salary cap returned.
As I said, the 2010 NFL Season was uncapped, meaning there was no floor or ceiling to acknowledge in spending on team salary. If teams wanted to spend $70million over the “ceiling” that season, they could. Just the same, if they wanted to spend $70million under the “floor” that season, they could. The previous salary cap was terminated that season and following the season, the entire Collective Bargaining Agreement along with it.
What the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins did, was use their money wisely in the allowed fashion with which they were presented, in order to get ahead. Let’s face it, doing something that isn’t against any rules should be fine—it’s not like they were breaking known, apparent rules for years and playing dirty (okay, maybe the Redskins were, but they’re safe from those charges, perhaps the league figured these were enough).
What the NFL did to the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, was simply put – collusion. The league is penalizing these teams for their actions during the uncapped season, using gentlemen’s agreements apparently okayed by 28 teams (the Saints and Raiders were found “guilty” of less monstrous cases, but because of their actions, they won’t be able to share in the $46million like the rest of the league over the next two seasons). So why was the NFL allowed to do this, you ask?
The NFL backed DeMaurice Smith and the NFL Players Association into a corner—telling them that the salary cap would decrease and not increase this year unless the NFL Players Association agreed to the penalties placed upon the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins—and watched as the NFLPA’s “high” standards and morals crumbled. As John Mara said, in the spirit of the salary cap, the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys partook in a loophole (this is funny too, as loopholes need to be exploited) that disturbed the competitive balance of the league.
What’s even funnier is that the NFL thinks and believes that the Redskins and Cowboys exploited a non-existent salary cap, but refuse to count that money towards the invisible cap that was in place in this gentlemen’s agreement. Money that didn’t exist when the cap existed, but still found the Redskins and Cowboys closer to a cap ceiling than it did a cap floor… what’s so interesting about that point?
During the uncapped season, teams like the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and most notably the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, saved anywhere from $25-70million in spending BELOW the invisible cap floor in hopes that when the league resumed and the salary cap returned, it would feature a lower floor and ceiling, which is collusion against the players, who are entitled to be paid. A lower cap and lower floor means teams don’t have to pay as much and only the players and agents need to adjust to the new market. The Buccaneers, Bills, Jaguars, and other clubs involved in this syphon, were upset to find that there was no decrease to the cap; but found themselves in a wonderful position to spend upwards of a few boatloads of cash to rejoin the ranks of the space between the salary cap ceiling and floor. Oddly enough, the league imposed these sanctions to prevent a decrease in the salary cap this year, so maybe the syphon scheme did pay off after all, just not in the manner they intended. But regardless of all that, there are a couple more facts that I want to bring to the front of the table.
The NFL offices have to approve every contract in order for them to take effect. So the NFL knew what the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys were doing when they did it, allowed it, and now, two years later decided to penalize the clubs. Perhaps even more infuriating is that all it does is make the 28 teams who agreed to the invisible deal look like they had the player’s best interests in mind, whereas the teams who go out of their way to [over]pay talent look like they diminished player-owner relations… and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, I’d also like to take a second to say I hate DeMaurice Smith the most out of anyone in this situation. He’s a coward, and deserves to be tar-and-feathered and run out of the country. In the face of fighting the league and taking information you know is collusion to the proper authorities to reconvene a case you dropped in agreement but have the right to continue with this new information, you folded like the yellow-bellied asshole you really are. One year of giving players what you want them to have, and not fighting for justice to prove that the league IS the enemy of the athletes… that was enough for you to make this decision? Go rot in a shameful Hell.
Both Washington and Dallas have teamed up to file for arbitration against the league (as it’s really their only option if they hope that this leads anywhere). Chances are this will help refuel the NFLPA in their fight against the league on charges of collusion. It’s not apparent if anything will be repaid either club for their losses, but one thing is sure, there will be justice served and Goodell and the owners of the 28 clubs who didn’t participate in the uncapped NFL season will be exposed for the fraudulent, arrogant, smug pricks we already know them to be.
This year, unwelcomed Jerry Jones will not be scowled at so furiously by Washington Redskins fans when he visits FedEx Field with his Dallas Cowboys. Roger Goodell, DeMaurice Smith, and especially John Mara, better not attend any of the Washington Redskins’ or Dallas Cowboys’ games this season.
I’d also like to state that I’ve twice challenged NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his position in the NFL on Twitter, directly to him, the league, and their network. Use the tag #SB4NFLCommish on Twitter in the hopes that we get someone’s attention. Follow me if you don’t already @Sean_Bishop.