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.
The acquisiton of Josh Norman is a move that'll have far-reaching consequences across the Redskins franchise. The pass rush, for one, will benefit, as Norman should blanket opposing receivers for longer amounts of time and allow the big boys more opportunities to reach the quarterback. The offense should profit as well, as the corner will likely provide the unit shorter fields to work with as he generates some turnovers.
The transaction will also help individuals, too, like DeAngelo Hall. The 32-year-old, who will be lining up at safety in 2016 after experimenting with it near the end of last season, said as much during an appearance on 106.7 The Fan's Grant & Danny Show on Monday.
"To add a guy like Josh Norman, it's going to be amazing for us," Hall said, before adding that the All-Pro's presence will make his job much easier. "I was all about trying to get him."
As it turns out, the veteran played a minor but key role in recruiting Norman. Hall said team president Bruce Allen asked him about flying to Atlanta along with defensive coordinator Joe Barry and secondary coach Perry Fewell, but Hall was already there — and had already been in touch with him.
"I had been texting Josh prior to that," he said. "I knew that they liked him... I couldn't wait to give him my spiel and my pitch."
The organization's strategy obviously worked, as Norman arrived to the team's facility a free agent and left it under contract. Now one of the premier members of the Burgundy and Gold, he'll be expected to contribute to Washington's overall progress.
In Hall's mind, that means not being satisfied with 2015's achievements.
"We just got to keep raising the bar," he said. "We just want to follow that up with another stellar year. I definitely think we have the tools and the guys on this football team to be as good as we want to be."
After signing All-Pro Josh Norman and drafting talented Virginia Tech product Kendall Fuller, Scot McCloughan informed the media on Monday during his post-draft press conference that the team has released cornerback Chris Culliver.
Culliver was signed to a pricey 4-year, $32 million deal last offseason, but struggled with injuries and his production in 2015. He later said in the presser that the door on Culliver's return isn't closed, but overall, he hopes the defender gets what he wants on the open market.
More updates to come on CSNmidatlantic.com
Some NFL players react negatively to receiving the franchise tag. In plenty of cases, the guy who is tagged views the designation as an insult or takes it as a sign that the organization doesn't fully trust him.
Kirk Cousins, though, an athlete who could seemingly find the bright side in anything — even something as gloomy as the ending to Marley & Me — said on Monday he has no issue with his team's decision to give him what's essentially a pricey one-year deal. The quarterback actually went so far as to borderline compliment the franchise's decision.
"I think that people make great decisions when they have a lot of information at their disposal, and if the Redskins would like more information from this next season to be able to make a decision on me long-term, I totally understand that and understand where they’re coming from," Cousins said during his weekly appearance on 106.7 The Fan's Grant and Danny Show. "I think the ball’s in their court and I will react accordingly to whatever decision they make."
That's not to say the 27-year-old is simply going to accept the tag, though. During the interview, he reiterated his intentions of proving his worth on the field — that comes off as his top priority. With that being said, he's still not closing the door on his talks with the 'Skins, yet.
"I want to go out and earn it, and prove myself, and if I need to prove myself again, that’s fine. I’ll go see if I can do that," Cousins said. "By no means am I, or are we, going to try to force their hand in any way. They can do what they want and we’re going to react accordingly, but if they call, I’ll pick up the phone. We’ll see where it goes from here."
The terms of his agreement with the organization that drafted him may still be under some questioning, but his status as the starting signal caller absolutely isn't. So, with an eye toward next season, which will be his second as the lead man, Cousins said he's focused on taking more control as an individual and simply building himself as a passer.
"Stepping up vocally, being a little more confident in asserting myself that way," Cousins identified as something he's continuing to pick up. "With experience and with time, you get better and you get better and you get better, and you get more confident, and that helps you play better. I can feel myself on that growth process."