- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Associated Press used to have a rule (not sure whether they still do) that they would not report a threatened or prospective lawsuit -- only one that had actually been filed. I always thought this was a good rule. Of course, now there are no rules. Anybody can report anything they want. It's the wild west out here. Somebody threatens to take someone else to court, it becomes a story. Makes no difference whether they can or will follow through on it. These are the times in which we live.
I bring this up because of this Washington Post story, which we've already discussed here, about the Washington Redskins threatening to seek an injunction ("considering going to court," it says) that would hold up the start of free agency while they continue to try and undo last year's salary-cap penalties. I believe the chances of the Redskins securing an injunction that would delay free agency league-wide are roughly equal to their chances of playing next year's home games on Saturn. In fact, I doubt they'll ever formally file such a request. But whatever. They're mad and they want to try and scare people. This is their right.
Anyway, according to Ed Werder, even if the Redskins go through with this insanely far-fetched plan, the Dallas Cowboys will not be joining them. The Cowboys were only stripped of $10 million in cap space -- $5 million last year and $5 million this year. While that obviously stings, it's nothing compared to the $36 million the league took from the Redskins. Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have moved on. Dan Snyder and the Redskins are still kicking and screaming. I think Jones is the one making the smarter play. Because while, as you know, I believe these teams were done wrong by a cabal of fellow billionaires who make up their own rules as they go along, there are no angels in this mess.
Jones and Snyder weren't doing what they did in that uncapped season for the benefit of the players the league had collectively decided to squeeze. They were doing it because they wanted to help position themselves to win in future seasons. They did something other teams did, but they did it to an extent that upset their fellow owners and led the league's management council to push for cap fines. That committee's chairman, Giants owner John Mara, has said he believes the Cowboys and Redskins were lucky they didn't lose draft picks as a result of this behavior.
The Cowboys are wise to move on. Maybe that's easy for them to say, because they're not as hamstrung as the Redskins are. Heck, maybe I'm wrong and the Redskins' kicking and screaming and lawsuit-threatening actually gets them some relief. But I doubt this comes to anything, and the Cowboys are smartly making their offseason plans based on the reality of the situation and not a long-shot fantasy based on lawsuits that likely will never happen.