The people who insist on saying Dan Snyder and the Redskins deserved what they got in any way just bug the **** out of me.
"Oh, there was agreement amongst the teams, the Redskins broke that agreement..." So did almost every other friggin' team in the league. A bunch of teams in the league dumped money into the uncapped year. Some players got paid huge base salaries in the uncapped years. Some contract written as late as 2008 had huge bonuses be paid out in the uncapped year, big bonuses were paid in the uncapped year. The only team I can find that didn't, in some way, abuse the crap out of the uncapped year, ironically enough, the Giants. So at least Mara's a man of his word when it comes to colluding to keep salaries down.
People who walk in and say that the Redskins deserved to get penalized are wrong. They are wrong. The Redskins and Cowboys did what they did to gain a competitive advantage. So did every other team who did what the same way. And so if that were the case --- that the Redskins and Cowboys gained an unfair competitive advantage by restructuring money and dumping it into the uncapped year (and one could argue that the Cowboys failed miserably at that, because their cap was still a mess even after they did Miles Austin's deal the way they did it) --- then every other team in the league that supposedly agreed to this should've been punished.
In fact, the Saints and the Raiders both did the exact same things we did, but they weren't punished at all, except they didn't get a cut of our cap space. Why weren't the Saints and Raiders punished when the league came straight out admitted that they also structured contracts in a way to clear cap space and give themselves an unfair competitive advantage? Why didn't they get the entirety of their extra cap space removed? All things being equal if they're guilty of committing the same crime, no matter what the extent is, they should get the same penalty we got.
Why? Because this has **** all to do with the Redskins breaking an agreement and getting an unfair competitive advantage.
In my humble opinion, what this was about was 1.) Jeffrey Lurie and John Mara conspiring to screw over division rivals, and 2.) a handful of small market teams being pissed off at Dan and Jerry for constantly outbidding them, overspending and pushing up the franchise tag numbers so they couldn't keep guys an extra year without giving them a big deal.
Lurie and Mara saw the Redskins with $36 million in cap space, a blockbuster trade for one of the best quarterbacks in the draft, and an opportunity because small market teams were cheesed off at Dan. And they worked it to perfection. The Redskins (and to a lesser extent, the Cowboys) didn't gain a competitive advantage over the NFL. The Redskins gained a competitive advantage over the Eagles and Giants, the two big dogs of the NFC East. Sure, Dallas popped up every once in a while, but most of the time, the Cowboys and Redskins played second fiddle to the Eagles and Giants.
And so those two organizations conspired against their division rivals. Mara used his power on the NFL Management Council to influence the other owners to go along with it saying they'd get a cut of the cap. And smaller market teams automatically get two of the biggest players in free agency and the guys who typically set the market on players out of there.
And then the NFL strong-armed limp-dicked D. Smith and the NFLPA into going along with it under threat of not raising the salary cap. Remember how long it took for the NFL to set the salary cap last year; they waited until damn near the start of free agency, March 13th, to set the salary cap. For sake of contrast, the salary cap this year was announced on February 28th, 3 weeks in advance.
They held onto the salary cap number until the very last minute, with the NFLPA under threat that if they didn't agree to the penalty, there'd be a low cap number, and D. Smith couldn't have that with his re-election coming up that same week, and no one had realized what a crappy CBA this was for the players just yet. And so, because D. Smith is a *****, the NFLPA agreed to the cap penalty (despite having all the evidence of collusion he could've ever wanted if he had ever just asked why).
The NFL, John Mara and Jeffery Lurie conspired to **** the Redskins and Cowboys. It's hard to gain a "competitive advantage" when all but a handful of people are doing the same thing.
It's like getting punished for doping in biking by being stripped of every title you've won, only to find out that everyone else is doping, but in slightly smaller quantities. Everyone else is still doping, so what difference does it make how much or how little they're doing?
If Dan, Bruce and Mike made any mistake, it was opening themselves to a body shot that, if they took a glance around at what the rest of the league was doing despite being "warned", they had no idea was coming.