The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, unlikely allies in a battle against league sanctions for overspending during an uncapped, pre-lockout period before the 2011 NFL season, will argue their case at a hearing on Thursday on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania's law school.
Due to the expiration of the agreement between the league and the player's union, the 2010 season was an uncapped year. After a new agreement was settled in 2011, the league reduced the salary cap of the Redskins and Cowboys by $32 and $10 million over the next two years, respectively, as punishment for the way those clubs structured contracts in 2010.
According to sources that spoke to the Washington Post, the issue isn't retroactive punishment, but that the two clubs sought to gain an advantage by clearing room for when the new salary cap came into play:
According to several people familiar with the case, the league found that the Redskins and Cowboys technically violated no salary cap rules but sought to gain an unfair competitive advantage when the salary cap went back into effect. The two teams, according to those people familiar with the case, paid money to players during the uncapped year that otherwise would have been paid in subsequent years with the salary cap back in place. That way, the money never counted against the cap and the teams cleared salary cap space in future seasons.
The Post also reports that an immediate decision is not expected from the arbitrator.