- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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As the flags wave, the smell of charred animal flesh begins to fill the air and the pools begin to fill with laughing children this holiday weekend, I thought I'd take some mailbag questions. Then I'm going to get back to that other stuff, don't worry.
Christopher from Huntington Beach, CA wonders, if the NFLPA succeeds in proving its collusion charges against the league, would the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins then be able to re-submit their grievance in front of arbitrator Stephen Burbank to get their cap penalties reduced or eliminated, or -- and here I quote Christoper -- "this point is this matter dead, and is it time for me to move on and accept the fact that the league unfairly punished the Redskins and Cowboys."
Dan Graziano: It's that last thing you said, Christopher. The Cowboys and Redskins aren't getting that cap money back. The only thing that situation has to do with the collusion suit is that the union says it only became aware of collusion once Roger Goodell and John Mara began publicly explaining the reasons for the penalties. The matter of the Cowboys' and Redskins' penalties is a settled one. Washington lost $18 million against the cap this year and will lose $18 million again next year. Dallas lost $5 million this year and will lose $5 million more next year. They just have to budget around it. The collusion case will not change anything on that front.
Kasey from NC asks whether I think the Redskins will "have an advantage" in 2012 because they play five of their six divisional games in the final seven weeks of the season.
DG: It's a sound theory, Kasey, that playing those divisional games so much later will give Robert Griffin III and the Redskins a chance to work out some of the kinks early. While it's not as though they're playing creampuffs in the first half of the season, the NFC East games are some of the toughest any team plays anywhere, and the fact that Griffin will only have to play one in his first nine games in the NFL could be a help to him as he gets adjusted, yes. I also think it helps the Redskins that their game in New Orleans is in Week 1, when the Saints might still be reeling from the bounty suspensions, the Drew Brees contract mess, etc. Might not be seeing the Saints at their absolute best.
Peter from Philadelphia, a self-described "New York Giants fan in 'enemy' territory" saw the news about Brian Witherspoon's torn ACL and wondered why the Giants have had so many torn ACLs. Wondered if it's just a coincidence or if there might be some reason it happens so often to the Giants.
DG: There's a theory in these parts that the turf at MetLife Stadium and on the Giants' indoor practice field contributes, but personally I have not seen any data to indicate that the Giants are suffering more torn ACLs than other teams. And I think the theory about the turf is generally fan-driven. The Giants are a pretty sizable investment, and if there was a legitimate concern that the stadium and practice field turf was tearing up players' knees, I am 100 percent certain that team ownership would devote considerable resources to investigating and correcting it. My sense is, it's a coincidence, and has as much to do with your perception as anything else.
Mike from DC has been debating this question with his friends: Hypothetically, which Jerry -- Jones or Reese -- would say no to a Dez Bryant-Hakeem Nicks trade if the other proposed it?
DG: I think they'd both say no, Mike, but that's not your point, is it? You need a debate settled. In my opinion, that would be a worse trade for the Giants. I have written many times that I think Bryant has the physical tools to be one of the best receivers in the league, and I don't rule out the possibility that he will someday be that. But Nicks already is, and he's only 10 months older than Bryant is. Nicks has all of the physical gifts, but he's also demonstrated at the NFL level a worth ethic and a sense of how to play the position, play-in and play-out, that Bryant has yet to demonstrate. If that discussion were to actually happen in real life, Jerry Reese is the one who should say no to Jerry Jones.
GW from Downingtown, PA thinks it's fair that the Eagles could dock Jason Peters $3.5 million of his scheduled $7.9 million salary due to his "non-football injury" and wonders if I agree.
DG: "Fair," sure. And completely permissible under the rules. But that doesn't make it right. The Eagles have the salary cap room to not do this if they wanted to make a goodwill gesture, and docking Peters' pay for an injury suffered while working out (as opposed to jet-skiing or playing pickup basketball or something like that) doesn't send a wonderful message to your players about the value of staying in shape during times when you can't see them. As I understand it, the team and the agent are working on a solution, and it's in the Eagles' best interest to find one that doesn't make them look too nickel-and-dimey. My opinion, is all that is.
I really hope you guys are enjoying your weekend. I promise you I am enjoying mine and will continue to do so. Talk to you again in the Tuesday links.