In a move directly tied to the NFL’s decision to dock the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins’ a combined $36 million in cap space over the next two years for “front-loading” contracts in the uncapped season of 2010, the NFL Players Association is suing the league and claiming collusion.
The suit claims that the owners colluded to set a “secret” salary cap of $123 million in 2010, when there was no official cap in place. Most teams played under this cap, and the two that didn’t, Dallas and Washington, were hit with pretty severe penalties.
“When the rules are broken in a way that hurts the game, we have an obligation to act,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said, per ProFootballTalk.com. “We cannot stand by when we now know that the owners conspired to collude.”
The NFL and the owners, meanwhile, believe that (a) when the two sides agreed on the new CBA last summer, the NFLPA waived their right to bring this sort of suit against the league and (b) that said CBA prohibits this sort of legal action on part of the Players’ Union.
“The filing of these claims is prohibited by the Collective Bargaining Agreement and separately, by an agreement signed by the players’ attorneys last August,” the league said in a statement Wednesday. “The claims have absolutely no merit and we fully expect them to be dismissed. On multiple occasions, the players and their representatives specifically dismissed all claims, known or unknown, whether pending or not.”
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