Owners support owners on cap sanctions

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The NFL's owners didn't have to vote to uphold the salary cap sanctions the league's management council imposed against the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys. But after Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones addressed their fellow owners to air their opposition to those sanctions Tuesday, the rest of the owners did vote on the matter. By a vote of 29-0, the owners supported the sanctions, which the Cowboys and Redskins are challenging through arbitration. One team abstained (The Washington Post reports that it was the Buccaneers), and of course the Redskins and Cowboys were not part of the vote.

What's this mean? Not a lot. The management council has the power to impose the sanctions without a vote of the full body of ownership. But since everyone's here for the owners meetings anyway, and since Snyder and Jones stood up to express their dissatisfaction and ask if everyone really thought they should be punished for the way they structured some contracts in the supposedly uncapped 2010 season, they decided to take a vote to establish a show of support in advance of the arbitration hearing. Surely, if there was opposition to the sanctions among the owners, it would hurt their case. If 29 of the sport's other owners all agree that the Redskins and Cowboys did something wrong, that's something they can use in their arguments in front of the arbitrator.

No date has been set for the hearing, which will be in front of arbitrator Stephen Burbank, and it remains unclear what the possible resolutions are. The Redskins and Cowboys are seeking an elimination of the penalty, but it's conceivable that Burbank could reduce the penalties if not completely eliminate them. The Redskins were docked $36 million in cap room over the next two years and the Cowboys $10 million in cap room over the next two years for violating a secret agreement owners made with each other not to structure 201o contract payments in such a way as to gain an advantage against the cap in future years.

The league announced Monday that it would have no further comment on the issue, and to date the Cowboys and Redskins have declined to say much publicly about it.