Bloomberg News

NFL Takes Salary Cap Space From Cowboys, Redskins Over 2 Years, ESPN Says

March 12, 2012

The National Football League is taking a combined $46 million in salary cap space from the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys over the next two years for front-loading contracts during the 2010 season, ESPN said, citing unidentified league officials.

The Redskins will lose $36 million in salary cap space and the Cowboys will give up $10 million, ESPN said. Dallas and Washington will be able to decide how they’ll split the losses over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, while 28 other NFL teams will get an added $1.6 million in salary space to use over the next two years, the cable sports network reported.

The NFL said yesterday that the player payroll limit for each team would be $120.6 million for the 2012 season. ESPN said the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders are the only two teams that won’t get a share of the combined $46 million in cap space taken from the Redskins and Cowboys.

The Cowboys and Redskins released statements today saying they were in compliance with contract rules in 2010. Neither team directly disputed the ESPN report.

“The Dallas Cowboys were in compliance with all league salary cap rules during the uncapped year,” team spokesman Rich Dalrymple said. “We look forward to the start of the free agency period, where our commitment to improving our team remains unchanged.”

Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen said Washington has received “no written documentation from the NFL concerning adjustments to the team salary cap in 2012 as reported in various media outlets.”

“Every contract entered into by the club during the applicable periods complied with the 2010 and 2011 collective bargaining agreements and, in fact, were approved by the NFL commissioner’s office,” Allen said. “We look forward to free agency, the draft and the coming football season.”

‘An Unacceptable Risk’

The NFL issued an e-mailed statement today that said the contract practices of a “small number of clubs during the 2010 league year created an unacceptable risk to future competitive balance, particularly in light of the relatively modest salary cap growth projected for the new agreement’s early years.”

The adjustments to team salary caps for the 2012 and 2013 seasons will help “remedy these effects and preserve competitive balance” throughout the league, the NFL said. It didn’t identify the teams involved and didn’t disclose the amount of the payroll adjustments.

“These agreed-upon adjustments were structured in a manner that will not affect the salary cap or player spending on a league-wide basis,” the NFL said.

The NFL didn’t have a salary cap during the 2010 season after the league’s collective bargaining agreement expired.

Without a salary cap, the Redskins and Cowboys paid money to some players in 2010 that normally would have been spread out over the length of their contracts, ESPN reported. It was an advantage some other NFL owners said was unfair, ESPN said. The Cowboys in September 2010 gave wide receiver Miles Austin a six- year, $54 million contract extension that paid him a $17 million base salary in 2010, according to ESPN.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net


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