Wow. Following the NFL in the offseason is like re-living the O.J. courtoom drama from years ago. It's ridiculous. But that's the news, and that's what we are being force fed while there's precious little real football news to report on.
It would appear that in the wake of the "Salary Cap Infractions" that were supposedly committed by the Redskins, Cowboys, Saints and Raiders in the UNCAPPED 2010 football season are becoming more of an issue than anyone thought they would be.
It all started when the NFL fined and penalized the Cowboys and Redskins for overspending in 2010 when there was no official salary cap in place. It was always this writer's understanding that the NFL and NFLPA both had to sign off on all contract negotiations between teams and players. So, if these were valid contracts in 2010, the NFL signed off on them. There was no issue when they were agreed upon.
Then this year, we find out that "Whoa nelly!" there's a problem with it. These teams spent over the Salary Cap! Wait, what? There was no salary cap. The Redskins and Cowboys took their cases to arbitration in which the arbitrator sided with the NFL. Conveniently enough, I might add.
So, the teams just decided to respect the decision and drop the issue publicly. That doesn't mean they couldn't still pursue other legal action, but for now the case was closed. It's time to focus on football, not legal manueverings. Right?
Wrong. Today, the NFLPA filed a lawsuit against the NFL claiming there was a "secret" salary cap agreed upon by ownership of $123 million per team for 2012. Again, this was an UNCAPPED SEASON. By rights, the teams could have spent $2 billion each if they so desired. There was no ceiling.
The NFL, however, says the NFLPA has no right to sue based on the collective bargaining agreement they signed. The NFL issued a statement in response and said the new collective bargaining agreement, reached in August of last year, prohibits the filing of these claims.
The NFLPA argues that Giants owner John Mara even said publicly that:
"What they did was in violation of the spirit of the salary cap," the NFLPA quoted Mara as saying. "They attempted to take advantage of a one-year loophole ... full well knowing there would be consequences."
Ummmm, hmmm. Yeah. He was referring to the Redskins and Cowboys here. Now, you tell me, how did they take advantage of something that was perfectly legal to do within the confines of the league's own ruling?
Sounds an awful lot like collusion to me folks. I'm not a smart man, but I'm not stupid either. And regardless of your personal feelings on Unions, player salaries or owner profits, this is just wrong. It sets a bad precedent that could be the undoing of our game.
How about the NFL just does the right thing on this one, drops the penalties, takes their lumps and moves on? It's not as though either of these teams benefitted by way of wins or championships for taking advantage of the uncapped (or was it?) season.
Maybe it's the league's fault for trying to have their cake and eat it too.