Throughout the winter, there have been hints that the Washington Redskins aren't quite ready to give up in their battle with the NFL over unreasonable salary cap sanctions handed down by league last year. Now it appears that the team might indeed be prepared to take legal action in order to flex its muscle against Roger Goodell and company.
As a result, the 2013 offseason schedule could be thrown into disarray.
Citing a pair of unnamed sources with knowledge of such conversations, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports that the Redskins are considering going to court in an attempt to gain an injunction that would delay the start of free agency.
Both said that the Redskins have compelling arguments they could make in an attempt to convince a judge that they would suffer irreparable harm if they are not granted an injunction. But others familiar with the case have said they don't believe the Redskins have legal arguments that weren't already considered, and rejected, by an arbitrator.
This would obviously be a bold attempt at gaining leverage. The 'Skins are being docked $18 million of cap space for the second consecutive offseason after the NFL concluded that they violated a verbal mandate by handing out front-loaded contracts during the uncapped 2010 season, but they might not be prepared to go down without (another) fight.
When an original appeal to an arbitrator was dismissed last May, the issue appeared to be dead. But now Maske reports that the Redskins are putting discussions with impending in-house free agents on hold until a resolution is confirmed.
Free agency is slated to get underway at 4 p.m. ET on March 12, and Maske says the 'Skins expect to have the situation sorted out by the end of this week. That could mean the NFL—fearing a potentially embarrassing legal battle with one of its most popular teams—gives in and softens the blow, or it could mean it calls the Redskins' bluff and we either end up in court or with Dan Snyder backing away.
This really could go either way. The NFL rules with an iron fist and Goodell isn't likely to be bluffed out of this round, especially since the NFLPA signed off on the sanctions last year. That said, the league hasn't exactly dominated in courtrooms as of late and might fear the mess that could come from a drawn-out legal process.
All that matters to Redskins fans right now is that it at least appears there's a chance.