We are one week away from the arbitration hearing concerning the Redskins and Cowboys salary cap penalties. Albert Breer of NFL.com reported why some around the league in addition to the Giants John Mara (who was born naked into the world and had to inherit everything he has) are upset with the fact that the two teams treated the uncapped year like, well, an uncapped year.The anger at the two penalized teams apparently stems from the fact that franchise tag salaries are based on the average of the top five salaries and bonuses at the position. The large bonus payments the Redskins and Cowboys paid to certain members of their respective teams had an inflationary effect on the franchise player salaries.The payment of a large salary to wide receiver Miles Austin in the first year of his redone deal apparently upset the Chargers organization. Austins big salary pushed up the franchise tag for the wide receiver position from what would have been about 9.5 million to about 11.3 million. That made it more difficult for San Diego to franchise tag him in 2011 and, because a player who is franchised for a second straight year gets 120 percent of his previous years salary.The Redskins 21 million payment to Albert Haynesworth caused the franchise tag at defensive tackle to jump from around 7 million to 12.5 million. That cost the Ravens extra money when they tagged Haloti Ngata and the Dolphins had to shell out more to franchise nose tackle Paul Soliai.Perhaps some teams do have a right to be upset. However, their anger is misdirected.The uncapped year, which has been built in to the last year of every CBA since the advent of the salary cap in the early 1990s, is among the provisions in the last year of the CBA that are supposed to incentivize the two sides to never enter the last year of the CBA.The lack of both a salary cap and floor, the extension of experience needed to become an unrestricted free agent from four to six years, and other clauses were supposed to push the two sides to the table to get a new deal hammered out.But the owners of the Chargers, Ravens, and Dolphins, along with every other NFL owner, voted to opt out of the CBA negotiated in 2006 early. And then months and months passed and they didnt even sit down for a serious negotiating session with the players. The lockout took effect soon after the CBA expired.The owners wanted the lockout. They therefore knew that they would have to accept the uncapped and unfloored year and the consequences, including a potential increase in franchise tags salaries, that could result.So they got their lockout. They got what seems to be a fairly favorable settlement with what is projected to be a four-year run with a flat salary cap. They want these gains without needing to drop a few million here and a few million there due to increases in the franchise tag that should have been fully expected following an uncapped year.In short, they got the upside of opting out of the CBA early, playing hardball, letting the CBA expire, and locking the players out. They had to deal with some of the inevitable downside to that strategy and they are upset about it.Nobody really knows what criteria arbitrator Stephen Burbank will use to arrive at his decision but it should be based on the letter of the law in the CBA. A few million dollars on franchise tags here and there should not be a factor.Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at www.RealRedskins.com. You can reach him by email at RTandlerCSN@comcast.net and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler.
Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 4, seven days before the Washington Redskins play the Philadelphia Eagles.
—Today's schedule: Redskins vs. Cardinals 4:25 pm
—Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 7; Panthers @ Redskins 15; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 20
Injuries of note:
Out: TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), DE Anthony Lanier (leg)
Questionable: G Brandon Scherff (ankle), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), Bashaud Breeland (ankle), LS Nick Sundberg (back)
Final injury report
Redskins vs. Cardinals
FOX, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Dick Stockton and Chris Spielman
Line: Cardinals -2.5
Final thoughts on Redskins vs Cardinals
—It needs to be a Ryan Kerrigan day if the Redskins are going to win. Or a Preston Smith day, something rarely seen this year. Or perhaps Arizonan Trent Murphy will get a couple of sacks for his friends and family. Carson Palmer has been ineffective this year because he has been under constant pressure. Washington needs to keep that up.
—It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with Josh Norman and Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals don’t just put Fitz into the slot as a wrinkle; they do it all the time. Norman isn’t comfortable covering in the slot but Joe Barry and Jay Gruden will be very uncomfortable if Fitzpatrick dominates Kendall Fuller. Maybe they will try to start off with Norman on the outside but they will adjust quickly. I know I’ve been back and forth on this all week but the Redskins will not use their base defense very often since the Cardinals like to spread the field so much. There will be no “standard” set for this game.
—The Redskins gain 6.4 yards per play, second in the NFL. The Cardinals allow 4.7 yards per game, first in the NFL. As usual, Washington may have to get their score into the upper 20’s to win. That might require a takeaway or a big special teams play.
—A lot of running backs would like to be in a “slump” like the one David Johnson is in now. After gaining at least 83 yards in five straight games, including going over 100 yards in three straight, Johnson has a combined 240 rushing yards in his last four games. Sixty yards per game is respectable but not dominant. The Redskins will gladly sign up for that going in but the Cards will want to get him going against Washington’s leaky rushing defense.
—I think the Redskins will be able to pressure Palmer but Johnson probably has a big day on tap. Unlike some other teams who have played the Redskins this year, if the Cardinals get a good running game going they won’t abandon it. On the other side of the ball, the Redskins’ offense will be slowed down but not shut down. My prediction, which I make with no hesitation but without much confidence:
Redskins 27, Cardinals 21
Tandler on Twitter
Taking in a little Western scenery. pic.twitter.com/KxcHT33VAz— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) December 3, 2016
In case you missed it
- Redskins playoff implications everywhere
- Betting on the Redskins' playoff chances
- Redskins vs Cardinals Preview: 5 things to know
After parting ways with him in a messy release that left the receiver angry with his former franchise back in 2014, the Eagles intend to make a "stong push" to bring back DeSean Jackson this offseason, according to Adam Schefter.
The 30-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent when the season wraps up, and there's been a yearlong debate over whether the Redskins should offer him another contract when that happens. Now, on top of weighing how much he's worth to their offense, Washington will also have to worry about how much he could potentially help a division rival.
In his report, Schefter cites sources who've told him that "Jackson and Eagles coach Doug Pederson are big admirers of each other." One reason why that admiration from Pederson makes sense: Philadelphia has one of, if not the, worst receiving groups in the NFL, and it's imperative that they do a better job of surrounding Carson Wentz with more talent in 2017.
Sure, this is just a single report in early December, but it is an intriguing one. While it's faded the longer he's been in Burgundy and Gold, Jackson hasn't hidden his resentment for the Eagles since coming to the Redskins. The 2008 second-round pick played in Philly for six campaigns, but was eventually let go in a controversial move that left him upset.
After their game in Arizona Sunday, the 'Skins will travel to Philadelphia next week for a crucial late-season matchup. With this speculation now being passed around the league, keep an eye on if the Lincoln Financial Field crowd gives Jackson a warmer reception than they have since his departure.
MORE REDSKINS: TRENT MURPHY JOINS CSN'S REDSKINS PODCAST