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NFL Collusion: Court of Appeals Overturns Previous Ruling Related to Washington and Dallas Salary Cap Penalties

NFL Contract Talks Continue As Deadline ApproachesRemember when Dallas and Washington received salary cap penalties in 2012, for bonuses they paid during the supposedly uncapped year? Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder were not happy about the hits, and filed a complaint.

The NFL’s position was basically that it was an uncapped year *wink wink nudge nudge* but that the owners had an agreement not to circumvent the cap rules. That would appear to be collusion. The NFL even approved the player transactions at the time (because to do otherwise would have raised flags) but then came back and fined Dallas and Washington later.

Because it affected the salary cap (and thus money paid to players), and also suggested that the owners were secretly agreeing to restrain themselves from spending, the NFLPA got involved, and eventually filed a lawsuit. Of course, they had already settled the lockout and agreed to waive claims arising from it. I was so tired that at the time I just channeled a Dave Mason song. (Who? Ask Mike Cardillo. We’re jamming out over here.)

Judge Doty, the trial judge for that NFLPA collusion case against the NFL, ruled against the NFLPA on the basis that they had settled the claims. Today, though, according to Pro Football Talk, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision. The NFL may now have to engage in discovery that shows the levels they went to restrain spending behind the scenes, while public warning about the dangers of an uncapped year prior to the lockout. It could have huge monetary implications as well, so while the public may not care about the term “collusion” as much as finding out an owner got a DWI, we could be talking damages up to a billion dollars, according to PFT.

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