Sep 18, 2011; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen before the game against the Arizona Cardinals at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Redskins docked $36 million in cap space, cut Sellers and Atogwe

The NFL has stripped $36 million in cap space from the Washington Redskins for front loading player contracts during the 2010-2011 uncapped year, according to multiple reports.

The Washington Post’s Mike Jones reported that the cap reduction is part of deal between the NFL Players Association and league officials, who concluded that the Redskins structured contracts for some players, notably Albert Haynesworth and DeAngelo Hall, so that their salaries were jacked up during the 2010  season — uncapped under the previous collective bargaining agreement — and thus giving the team more cap space in following years.

The news broke on the eve of free agency, which Skins fans were expecting the team to enter at about $40 million under the projected $120.6 million salary cap — more than enough space to surround Baylor quarterback and presumed No. 2-overall pick Robert Griffin III with more talent at wide receiver and along the offensive line.

Along with the Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys will also lose $10 million in cap space. Both teams can spread their respective cap hits across the next two seasons.

The remaining 30 NFL franchises, except for the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders, will each receive an additional $1.6 million in cap space in 2012.

Likely in anticipation of this news, the Redskins released longtime fullback Mike Sellers and safety Oshiomogho Atogwe today, saving a combined $4.45 in salary in 2012.

The deal was evidently responsible for the league’s oft-criticized delay in releasing the projected salary cap for 2012.

The league “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,” it said in a statement Monday. “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.”

Jones reported that the players union did not believe the Redskins or Cowboys violated any rules and agreed to the deal only after the league threatened to lower the salary cap for all 32 teams. ESPN reported that the “deductions are not termed as violations.”

Mike Florio of NBC Sports reported that NFL teams were warned “at least six times” of “serious consequences” should they use the uncapped year to dump player salaries.

The Redskins have not commented on the agreement.

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Tags: Free Agency Mike Sellers Oshiomogho Atogwe Washington Redskins

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