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Cowboys/Redskins salary-cap appeal dismissed by arbitrator; teams concede

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Jerry and Dan fought the law. And the law won. (Getty Images)

The NFL took away chunks of cap space from the Cowboys and Redskins ($10 million and $36 million, respectively) because of front-loaded contracts handed out during the uncapped year in 2010. The two teams appealed to an arbitrator, but the NFL announced Tuesday that the appeal was dismissed.

According to NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, speaking to media at the owners meetings in Atlanta, Professor Stephen Burbank dismissed the grievance filed by Washington and Dallas.

Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder made it clear that they would fight the NFL's decision, and at the end of March, the two teams filed their grievance against the NFL and NFLPA with Burbank. On Tuesday, they made it clear they wouldn't pursue additional legal actions against the NFL.

"We pursued our salary cap claim pursuant to the CBA and we respect and will abide by the arbitrator's decision to dismiss," the Cowboys and Redskins announced in a joint statement. "We will continue to focus on our football teams and the 2012 season."

They then continued with the legal procedure despite the owners voting 29-0 to impose the cap penalties against the two teams, but that legal procedure has hit the proverbial wall with Burbank's dismissal.

It will be interesting to see Burbank's reason for the dismissal. Did he decide that Roger Goodell has absolute authority over salary-cap issues? Or did he simply believe that the NFLPA and NFL agreeing to impose the penalties (coupled with the owner vote) constituted enough of an agreement from all parties involved to doom the Redskins and Cowboys case?

If it's the latter, well, it makes sense. Dallas and Washington can be as angry as they want, and the decision might very well represent collusion at some level, but everyone except the Redskins and Cowboys agreed to these penalties, even if it was after the fact.

If it's the former reason, it means that Goodell was just given the equivalent of Mario's super mushroom from Burbank in terms of his personal jurisdiction over NFL-related issues. Regardless, it's a significant boost of power for the Commissioner.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.
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