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 good news for the 2016 Redskins was that they didn’t collapse after winning the division the previous season as has been their pattern in the past. The bad news was that they didn’t take the next step and improve from a franchise that can compete to make the playoffs into one that is playing multiple postseason games year in and year out.
That work begins right now for Jay Gruden, Scot McCloughan and the players. In the coming weeks, Redskins reporters Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will examine the biggest questions facing the Redskins as another offseason gets rolling.
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Will the Redskins go with a defensive player in the first round of the 2017 Draft?
Finlay: The Redskins haven't drafted a defensive player in the first round since 2011 when the franchise grabbed Ryan Kerrigan with the 16th pick. In fact, the team has only drafted five defensive players in the first round over the last 15 years.
History suggests Washington will stay away from a defensive player, but sources in Ashburn have suggested otherwise. Assuming the talent is there when the 'Skins pick at No. 17, Scot McCloughan would like to bolster the team's defensive line specifically.
Things will get complicated should Leonard Fournette or Dalvin Cook slide to 17. Rich Tandler certainly would like to see the Burgundy and Gold add a top-flight running back.
Tandler: Many fans believe that conducting a draft is like going into a grocery store with a list. Defensive lineman is at the top of the list so you go to aisle 12 and put a DL in the cart. Safety is next on the list so you push the cart over to that aisle and pick out one of those.
No, a draft is much more unpredictable. There might not be a defensive lineman who is close to worthy of the No. 17 pick when the Redskins are on the clock. Talk of taking the best available player is like fingernails on a chalkboard to some. But if you’re reaching for need in a draft, you’re losing that draft. Sure, if a player in a position of need is just a spot or two down from the best available you think about it. Still, staying true to your board is the way to build a team.
The other thing to consider here is that we haven’t gone through free agency yet. Needs will shift after that. Suppose the Redskins sign two starting-caliber D-linemen and lose both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson in free agency? Defensive line is no longer a five-alarm priority and receiver will be.
More offseason questions:
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN and @Rich_TandlerCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!
Twice in the last five seasons Pierre Garçon logged more than 1,000 yards receiving as a member of the Washington Redskins, including the 2016 season. He's caught 376 passes in Washington for 21 touchdowns over 74 games.
Outside of a foot injury that cost his six games in 2012, Garçon has been arguably the Redskins most durable wide receiver, and he's known to be a hard worker in the weight room and the practice field.
Despite all that, Garçon doesn't know that he will be back with the Burgundy and Gold once free agency opens. In fact, that uncertainty led the 30-year-old wideout to post a simple question on his Instagram page.
The top of the Redskins offseason questions remains QB Kirk Cousins. Garçon and fellow wideout DeSean Jackson are headed for free agency, as is standout defensive lineman Chris Baker. Reports show that the team has made little to no contact with any of the players or their representatives, though many conversations could be planned for the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis later this month.
Garçon's question seems simple, but the answer remains a mystery.
Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes, here for Google Play or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!