daniel snyder should sue goodell, the NFL

(photo by Brian Murphy)

If I’m Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, I’m strongly considering extreme measures right about now. How drastic, you ask?

I’d be so furious at this very moment that I’d strongly consider going to war with the National Football League after the cowardly decision to penalize the Redskins $36 million in salary cap space for front-loading contracts during the 2010 season.

In case you missed it, the Redskins were penalized for creatively restructuring the contracts of former defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and current cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

During the ’10 season, Washington adjusted the deals of these two players to immediately absorb large cap hits during the uncapped year that normally are spread out over the length of the contracts. Apparently, this was deemed unfair because it gave the Redskins an advantage over other NFL teams who failed to work the system to their benefit.

So now, the Redskins, who were set to have roughly $31 million in salary cap space once free agency kicks off tomorrow afternoon, have some seriously difficult decisions to make as they continue to try and retool Mike Shanahan’s roster.

While I openly admit that I’m a ‘Skins fan and therefore will have a tough time remaining impartial when something like this happens, I feel strongly that this is something I wouldn’t be on board with regardless of whether my favorite football team was involved or not.

For starters, I’m not exactly sure how the league can penalize a team for how they choose to handle their team salaries during an uncapped year.

It’s an uncapped year. By definition, you shouldn’t be allowed to put a limit on how teams choose to handle their salary cap. If you can, then it’s not actually an uncapped year.

If there was a law or league rule that was violated, then show it to us in writing. If a team was strongly encouraged to not get creative with contracts, but didn’t actually break a law, then I ask again — how can the NFL punish a team for how they chose to handle team salaries in an uncapped year?

Let’s hear from ESPN’s Dan Graziano on his immediate thoughts following the NFL’s ruling:

This seems a pretty ridiculous thing for the league to do. Either the year is uncapped or it’s not. To tell teams, “Yeah, it’s uncapped, but don’t spend too much this year just because of that, or we’ll fine you for it down the road” feels a little bit like collusion to me. But this is the NFL, which does what it wants and makes up the rules as it goes along.

Also, as Andrew Brandt points out, “All NFL contracts are approved by the NFL Management Council. Curious that there is now punishment for these contracts.”

If the league had a problem with the restructuring of these two deals, then why not handle the situation when it happened rather than waiting a year and dropping a bombshell 24 hours before the start of free agency? That’s nothing but evil and vindictive. That’s expected behavior from a scorned ex-girlfriend. Not the commissioner of a billion-dollar business.

If I’m in The Danny’s shoes, I’m absolutely ready to get into a pissing contest with Roger Goodell and his mafia buddies who thought this was acceptable. First step, since the NFL was “kind” enough to give the Redskins the option of spreading the $36 million cap hit over two seasons, I’d push as much as possible to next year.

And then I’d file a lawsuit.

Honestly, if you’re willing to take on a no-name columnist from a publication that’s nearly impossible to find for writing mean things about you, then surely you’ve got the stones to stand up when someone tries to maliciously hurt your franchise.

If you’re willing to file suit against grandmas who aren’t able to pay for season tickets because of a down economy, then there’s no reason you can’t get your lawyers back on the line and have them meet you at the courthouse for another day in front of the judge.

Now’s your chance to file the one lawsuit that will actually win* the respect of ‘Skins fans who have considered you public enemy number one since the day you took over the burgundy and gold more than a decade ago.

*At least temporarily.

Put on your best suit, head to the courthouse and look Goodell straight in the eyes while saying, “No one is going to bully anyone around here except me.”

And let’s not forget the other owners who happily accept your money when it’s revenue sharing time, but ran to tell daddy that it was unfair the Redskins actually tried to work the system to set their franchise up for long-term success during a year with no salary cap.

Not only did they rush to tattle and demand action even though no actual rules were broken, but now these cowardly owners get rewarded with $1.6 million in extra salary cap space in this insane drug deal. So stock up on ammo, kick the door down and let loose on this dictator while sending a message to his little “yes men.”

Goodell does whatever the hell he wants whenever the hell he wants to and has yet to be challenged. You, Mr. Snyder, are nothing if not stubborn and you’ve never been afraid to burn a bridge or two when push comes to shove, so lets get the legal team back on speed dial and make this happen.

Go out and sign Vincent Jackson and any other free agent you had your pretty little heart set on and tie up the legal system for as long as it takes to get this backdoor ruling overturned. Short of selling the team or giving away free season tickets, you’re never going to have the opportunity to win over more fans than you do right now.

So do the right thing and sue the hell out of Roger Goodell. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but by doing so you might finally win over the fans who fill up your stadium on Sundays.

Update: Redskins general manager Bruce Allen has released a statement:

“The Washington Redskins have received no written documentation from the NFL concerning adjustments to the team salary cap in 2012 as reported in various media outlets. Every contract entered into by the club during the applicable periods complied with the 2010 and 2011 collective bargaining agreements and, in fact, were approved by the NFL commissioner’s office. We look forward to free agency, the draft and the coming football season.”

Yet another update:

Take a look at this chart which shows how teams like the Chiefs, Bears and Texans handled the uncapped year and tell me again why Redskins and Cowboys have been singled out and penalized. And let’s not forget the four teams who spent less than $100 million on salaries in 2010, but somehow didn’t effect the league’s “competitive balance.”

This ruling continues to feel completely arbitrary as the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys are being held accountable for not adhering to a gentleman’s agreement/collusion.


  1. TJL
    March 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Hear Hear! It wouldnt come close to righting all his past wrongs but if he fights this one to the fullest extent he can “Fuck yeah!” Ill yell, “Fuck yeah, Daniel Snyder”

  2. David Alison
    March 12, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Couldn’t agree more Murf. This is total BS and a slap in the face to two high profile teams for doing EXACTLY what was allowed and even approved by the league.

  3. DLloyd
    March 12, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    This is completely right. This is probably illegal of the NFL, and is almost textbook collusion.

    If something isn’t done, the precedent it sets will haunt the NFL for decades.

  4. Kb
    March 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    Great read Murf! I couldn’t agree more, except that I wouldn’t say a word until all Free Agency Signings have their contracts approved by the front office. Eff God-Del.

  5. Jimmy Milstead
    March 12, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Im kind of like James Harrison when it comes to this issue. I wouldn’t piss on Goodell either if he was on fire. This guy rivals David Stern as a commish. Absolutely ridiculous the things he gets away with.

  6. Bowlregard
    March 12, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    If the league actually tries to do this, the Skins might try and go to court to get an injunction to delay free agency. Anyhow, I am glad to see this article and am heartened by Allen’s statement.

  7. SP
    March 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Totally agree with this.

    This is about rights and the rules and laws. Enough of Goodell making up rules as we go along. The Redskins/Cowboys were smart enough to work the system and this salary cap issues need to be appealed and case taken to the court if need be.

    I encourage all fans to sign up for the petition fire Roger Goodell and on Facebook for this.

  8. Adam
    March 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Goodell is a thug.

    At the very least the league should call it what it is. Say they didn’t like the rules so they changed them. Don’t let them get away with this weasly vague competitive balance statement crap.

  9. M R F
    March 12, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    Time to lawyer up! If Snyder plays this right it could definitely be a rallying point, but that would require Snyder not to fuck this up and he has proven time and time again that not fucking stuff up isn’t exactly his strong suit.

  10. Scott
    March 13, 2012 at 6:19 am

    In the words of the late Al Davis. Fuck the NFL. Go get um Danny

  11. Eric
    March 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Well, I am going to look at this from Goodell’s point of view….
    Obviously, there was the threat of no NFL season last year. That was scary. The fans would have flipped, the TV networks would have been bored, Bud Light would have had to sponsor Billiards, Horseback riding, or (brace yourself) the WNBA. Even worse, all the millionaire players would have had to relax, spend time with their families, not get injured, etc. But then, a miracle. The planets aligned and the league came to an agreement with the players. Are you ready for some FOOTBALL? Pay your players, start your camps, get ready!

    Now, I am going to stop being an asshole dictator (Goodell), and give my point of view. You almost didnt have a season. Be it greed, clashing personalities or what, it was awfully close. If I remember correctly, there was a little bit of deception right before the agreement was reached as well. Perhaps a warning sign? The owners side stated that an agreement had been reached, all was good. NFLPA holds a press conference stating they were told of no such agreement? Kind of sketchy! Now they state that a team or two violated rules with contracts that they approved. But, I can see the concern that Goodell might have. Lets use the Redskins for this point. The Washington Redskins manipulated the system and made select players happy with certain types of contracts/salaries. And it shows. The Redskins were a huge threat to any team they played. It almost seemed rigged. Teams woke up and thought, “We are playing the Skins, might as well register us for an ‘L’ in the standings.” Oh wait, that wasnt the case. Two seasons ago they went 6-10. Last season, 5-11. Clearly, contract manipulation is to blame for our stellar record?
    So, I must agree with this post, all that have commented, and everything sports analysts have said. How is it that all of the sudden, this has become a problem? Perhaps Goodell and the league are concerned that if the Skins dont get punished, they will draft RG3 and the NFL wont make the money they were anticipating off of him? Maybe, back in the preschool days, Snyder wouldnt share the linkin’ logs with Goodell? Who knows what is really going on. I must say that I grew up in DC, and that my team has always been the Skins, no matter what kind of season they pull. I agree that Snyder needs to finally use that fancy legal team of his (the cost of which may be the reason for ticket prices) and go for the NFL’s throat. No more of this. You made all these moves to get in position for a highly anticipated player, why stop now? Get them. Get the NFL. Put Goodell up there in front of the entire public eye, and give him a good Rogering (sorry, had to).

    Otherwise, all the NFL is, is a Poop PI (you’re welcome Andy)

  12. Steve
    March 14, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Homer, I know I may be taking it a bit far, but should all of this fall through, and Snyder and Jones win a lawsuit against the NFL and/or owners, is it possible that John Mara gets brought up on some type of charges? It seems a logical thought because the evidence is there. He was the head of the management committee that approved the contracts. That same committee then arbitrarliy ruled to punish the Skins and Boys. The head of that committee’s owns a business that is in direct competition with the two businesses he decided to punish/steal from.

    Again, a little crazy, but maybe not……

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