Cowboys and Redskins have massive amounts of salary cap space taken away

Shutdown Corner

As a punishment for salary-cap shenanigans during the uncapped 2010 season, the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys will lose cap space for 2012 and 2013.

ESPN reports that the Redskins will lose $36 million and the Cowboys will lose $10 million. They'll be able to spread that over two years, so in the case of the Redskins, with this year's cap of $120.6 million, if they spread it evenly over two years, they lose about 15 percent of their cap space this season. Ouchie.

What the Redskins and Cowboys are accused of doing is structuring contracts so players would receive a disproportionate amount of their money during the uncapped 2010 season. The league didn't appreciate their ruse.

And, to ensure that there's still enough money going around to make the union happy, every other team in the league, with the exception of the Raiders and Saints (accused of more minor violations), will get the cap space that the Redskins and Cowboys are giving up.

Here's the statement the league released:

The Management Council Executive Committee determined that the contract practices of a small number of clubs during the 2010 league year created an unacceptable risk to future competitive balance, particularly in light of the relatively modest salary cap growth projected for the new agreement's early years. To remedy these effects and preserve competitive balance throughout the league, the parties to the CBA agreed to adjustments to team salary for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. These agreed-upon adjustments were structured in a manner that will not affect the salary cap or player spending on a league-wide basis.

ESPN cites Miles Austin's contract extension as a particular example of the wrongdoing.

In September 2010, the Cowboys signed wide receiver Miles Austin to a six-year extension worth $54 million and paid him a $17 million base salary that season.

Also, as part of the original deal, Austin was to receive a base salary of $8.5 million in 2011, but Dallas created cap room before the season by lowering Austin's salary to $685,000 and turning $7.855 million into a signing bonus.

Free agency starts Tuesday. Adjust your plans accordingly, Redskins and Cowboys.

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