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 Saturday, May 27, 17 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp on June 13.
It’s been 146 days since the Redskins played a game. Their season opener against the Eagles at FedEx Field is in 106 days.
—Redskins minicamp (6/13) 17
—Training camp starts (7/27) 61
—Preseason opener @ Ravens (8/10) 75
The Redskins week that was
How well will the Redskins' defense adjust to six new starters? The Redskins unquestionably got an infusion of defensive talent but as we have seen in the past that does not guarantee better results. Throw a new defensive coordinator into the mix and it could take some time for this unit to reach its full potential. I think that there will be struggles early in the season and a better (but not dominant) unit by the time November rolls around.
Which Redskins will surprise in 2017? Every player carries expectations into the season. Some will be better than we believe right now (think of what many thought Vernon Davis would do last year) and some will play worse (Josh Doctson). I take out the crystal ball to figure out who will exceed expectations and who will fall below them.
Don't count out 3rd straight franchise tag for Cousins—Yes, Bruce Allen said that he is willing to franchise tag Kirk Cousins for a third time next year, a move that would cost $34 million for one season. But I think that’s a total bluff; the Redskins’ salary cap situation for 2018 would make such a move very difficult for them to pull off. The best hope for Cousins being a Redskin in 2018 is getting him signed to a long-term contract by July 15 of this year. The tone of the conversation regarding a new deal has been positive lately but the team must come up with a serious offer for a deal to happen.
For Redskins, finding a nose tackle needs to be a priority—Well, it’s up to Jim Tomsula to “make” a nose tackle. Phil Taylor is a true NT and he will get a shot. But he hasn’t played a snap since 2014. Undrafted free agent Ondre Pipkins also has nose tackle size at 6-3, 325. But he is a long shot, as are the Redskins’ chances of being significantly better against the run if they don’t find someone, anyone to be an adequate solution as the nose tackle.
Did Vernon Davis make the NFL change celebration rules? Although I prefer the John Riggins way of celebrating a touchdown—hand the ball to the referee because you’ve been in the end zone before and you expect to be back again soon—elaborate celebrations don’t bother me. After a TD in a game I’m covering I’m focused on writing about the scoring drive. When I’m watching at home, my attention goes to Twitter or to the refrigerator. I do think that it was dumb for the Redskins to lose 15 yards of field position because Vernon Davis put a jump shot over the crossbar so that’s why I’m glad that the NFL changed the celebration rules.
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins is always open to some coaching no matter who it comes from. On Friday that coaching came from Veronica, an 85-year old woman who works at Congressional Country Club and is a die-hard Redskins fan.
Cousins posted a picture of the pair together on his Instagram account Friday afternoon.
Why I love playing for Washington... Just met Veronica, an 85 year old employee at Congressional Country Club, has worked there for 53 years and is a diehard Redskins fan. She had 3 thoughts to share: 1. She coaches me from her couch 2. Wants to be sure I get the ball out when I drop back 3. Wants the new receivers to get involved in the offense I'll see what I can do!
Veronica made some solid suggestions, especially the one about him getting the ball out of his hands quicker.
Despite the rocky contract situation with the team, there's no question that Cousins loves the passionate Redskins fan base.