The NFL removed $36 million in salary cap space from the Redskins on Monday, one day before the start of free agency, in essence for violating an agreement among teams not to put a lot of money onto an uncapped year.
The league also took away $10 million from Dallas for the same reason. The combined $46 million will be spread to 28 other teams, giving each an additional $1.6 million on their salary cap.
However, Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said in a statement released Monday night that the team had not received written documentation concerning any adjustments to the 2012 salary cap. Multiple reports stated the Redskins were told Monday afternoon. Allen's statement signaled a potential fight.
"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," Allen said.
A Dallas spokesman told ESPN.com that the Cowboys, too, were in compliance with the salary cap.
But according to one NFL source, who was in a front office in 2010, other teams were upset with both the Redskins and Cowboys for their maneuverings with the 2010 salary cap. He said the league was "emphatic" about how it wanted contracts structured.
The Redskins reportedly structured a $21 million bonus to Albert Haynesworth and a $15 million bonus to DeAngelo Hall so it all would count in 2010.
"They grossly violated it, and everyone was upset when they found out what they did," the NFL source said. "This is something Al Davis would have done."
The Redskins are free to divide the $36 million over the next two seasons however they see fit. They would have entered free agency with between $30 million and $40 million to spend. They have $83 million committed for 2013, so they could put the bulk of the money onto next year, leaving themselves with plenty of money for this offseason.
Washington is looking for help at receiver, right tackle, safety and cornerback in particular. As of now, the Redskins lack a true starting safety after releasing Oshiomogho Atogwe and with LaRon Landry expected to depart in free agency.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the ruling does not impact the Redskins' proposed trade with St. Louis in which they will receive the second overall pick in April. Washington will give the Rams the sixth pick, plus a second-round choice. In addition, the Redskins will give them first-round picks in 2013 and 2014. The trade becomes official as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.
A statement released by the NFL says, "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."