March 14, 2012

Cowboys and Redskins fans unite!

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Ice Hockey

In all sports, there is breaking the rules and then there is bending the rules. We’ve seen it happen before when teams do something that might be a bit questionable, but isn’t explicitly forbidden in the rule book. We’ve also seen teams just go way overboard and tape opponents’ sideline signals or install bounty programs. What the Cowboys and Redskins did during the uncapped NFL season of 2010 definitely falls into the former category.

As a quick refresher, with the NFL’s CBA lapsed, the league agreed to have an uncapped season, meaning that teams could spend whatever they wanted on salary during that season. Well, the Cowboys and Redskins were smart enough to realize that if they paid their guys with a lot of up-front money they would have more cap space to work with in the future once a new CBA was put in place.

How that broke any rule – when essentially there were none in place – is a mystery to me.

Well, if there’s one thing billionaires hate it’s when they’re made fools of by other billionaires. So the rest of the league obviously didn’t like the idea that those two NFC East rivals were smarter than the rest them.

So, the league clamped down a mere two days before free agency started and took away cap room from both squads, giving the cash out to 28 of the other 30 teams. How is that fair?

There two teams have been preparing plans for free agency for months and now have been hit with these sanctions? How can they adequately adjust in time?

Sure, Pierre Garcon has tweeted that he’s joining the Redskins, but nothing solid has come down. Don’t you think that team was prepared to pursue a couple of good free agents to place around their soon-to-be QB of the future, RG3?

This whole incident reminds me of the NHL’s idiotic cap system and the problems it has caused. For years it was incredibly easy to circumvent by simply tacking on meaningless seasons to the ends of large contracts that would bring down the average value per season – also known as the player’s cap number.

The NHL finally wised up when they vetoed Ilya Kovalchuk’s deal last summer, but the damage was done.

Those were two brilliant example of how smart teams can work to bend rules in their favour. Now, because everyone was too daft to follow their lead, the Cowboys and Redskins have been unfairly punished.

There might finally e something for the two rivals’ fan bases to unite about. You know, other than their hatred of the New York Giants.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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