With the news that arbitrator Stephen Burbank has dismissed the Redskins and Cowboys appeal of their salary cap penalties, Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones lost the best option to get the matter settled. The arbitration system works relatively quickly, it is within the framework of the NFL and the process is done behind closed doors with a minimum of potentially embarrassing information being make public. The penalty for violating a rule that was not written down anywhere--in fact, the written rule expressly permitted with Washington and Dallas did--could have been solved with a minimum of fanfare.An appeal of Burbanks dismissal may be possible. There is an appeals panel but it is not clear if a dismissal can be appealed or of there can only be an appeal if an actual decision is reached. If possible, the Redskins and Cowboys will explore going down that road but it seems likely that it will be a dead end.If that is the case, Jones and Snyder likely will have only one option left. They would have to go nuclear and file a lawsuit.Going to federal court, which presumably is where this interstate matter would have to be adjudicated, is everything that the internal arbitration isnt. Most of the process is there for the public to see, potentially embarrassing headlines will be generated on a daily basis, and the process cold drag on for months if not years. And the process is extremely expensive as thousands of billable hours are gobbled up navigating the court system.From the Redskins and Cowboys point of view, however, going to court could be the best option. The league has not fared well in front of men and women wearing robes in recent years. In 2010, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled against the NFL in the American Needle case in a 9-0 vote (when was the last time you saw that court agree like that on anything?). That the leagues effort to gain a broad antitrust exemption. Last year, the NFL lost two cases related to the labor dispute and subsequent lockout. First it was ruled that the owners had acted illegally in negotiating TV contracts that would still pay them rights fees in the event of a lockout. And then the lockout itself was declared to be illegal. Only a temporary injunction allowed the lockout to go on.The record shows that the highly-paid legal beagles retained by the league are not always the smartest guys in the room. The fact that they opined that the cap penalties would stand up in court doesnt mean that it will.But even if Jones and Snyder prevail in court if may be a pyrrhic victory. They could permanently damage relationships with other owners. In the business sense the Redskins and Cowboys organizations are more partners with those 30 other teams than they are competitors. They need each others support and votes to get things done. A long, public court battle may do them more harm in the long run than the good that would be gained from recouping the cap space.When asked after Burbanks ruling, the Redskins had no comment about their plans to pursue the case in court. We should find out what the next steps will be soon enough.
The announcement that the Redskins are sending Josh Doctson to injured reserve wasn’t really a surprise to anyone, although perhaps the timing was. Jay Gruden has said earlier that he thought they would wait until after the bye to make a decision on whether or not to put Doctson on the shelf. But visits to a couple of specialists convinced them to make the move.
The team’s top draft pick ends the season with 31 snaps played and two receptions for 66 yards including a 57-yard reception against the Cowboys. Doctson wasn’t expected to contribute much this season but the plans were to let him get his feet wet, learn in practice, and be ready to take over a starting role next year.
Now, he can’t practice for eight games even if he overcomes his mysterious Achilles problems. He can go to meetings and be around the facility and there is some benefit in that.
Like any player put on injured reserve after the roster cut to 53, Doctson is eligible to return after eight games. The team has one move off of IR that it can use each season. The earliest that Doctson could return is Week 15, when the Redskins host the Panthers. There is a long way to go before that bridge needs to be crossed.
The other possibilities to be activated later are center Kory Lichtensteiger and safety David Bruton. But that is a decision that can be made later in the season. Who knows what the injury picture might look like when they do have to make a call.
To replace Doctson on the roster the Redskins signed rookie free agent wide receiver Maurice Harris to the roster. At 6-3 Harris immediately becomes the tallest receiver on the roster.
The move doesn’t have much of an effect on the wide receiver depth chart since Doctson has been inactive for four weeks. It remains to be seen when Harris will see the field on game days.
WR Josh Doctson (Achilles)—While they wanted to wait until after the bye week to make this determination they sent the top draft pick to some more specialists and the decision was made to put him on the shelf. Jay Gruden said that he could return later in the season. The earliest he could do so would be Week 15.
TE Jordan Reed (concussion)—The star tight end had symptoms after the Ravens game and it was determined that he has a concussion. This week he did get to practice on a limited basis on Wednesday but he was not on the field Thursday or Friday. This will be the second game missed for Reed.
WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder)—He did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday but he practiced on Friday and Gruden said “he ran around pretty good”. Both Jackson and Gruden seem to be confident that he will play but that remains to be seen.
Not on injury report
LB Su’a Cravens (concussion)—He entered the concussion protocol immediately after the Browns game. The rookie was a full go in practice on Thursday and Friday and Gruden said that “he’s good to go” after missing two games.
- TE Eric Ebron (ankle/knee)
- LB DeAndre Levy (knee/quad)
- DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder)
- RB Theo Riddick (ankle)
- T Corey Robinson (ankle)
- DE Ezekiel Ansah (ankle)
- G Larry Warford (groin)
- RB Dwayne Washington (ankle)
- LB Tahir Whitehead (abdomen)