|National Football League|
Jones: Cowboys followed rules before cap reduction
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
GRAPEVINE, Texas (AP) Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said his team filed "a real good brief" in its challenge of a $10 million salary cap reduction by the NFL, and followed the rules before being penalized.
A hearing is set Thursday before arbitrator Stephen Burbank on appeals by the Cowboys and the Washington Redskins, whose cap was reduced by $36 million. The two NFC East teams were penalized for overloading contracts in the 2010 uncapped season despite league warnings.
"I know we followed the rules, and the league has not said that we did not follow the rules, and those were approved contracts," Jones said Wednesday. "But this is a complicated issue."
The Cowboys and Redskins filed their grievances against the league and players association.
Both teams will be represented by attorneys at Thursday's hearing, which is the first step in the appeals process.
Jones wouldn't elaborate on his team's brief or what specifically he anticipates from the hearing.
"I can't, and won't, address the specifics and certainly wouldn't dare try to predict what the resolution would be," he said. "I'm glad we've got an opportunity to present it under the labor agreement to a mediator, and that's what (Thursday) is all about. ... It won't resolve the issue, but it will help decide whether or not we can go before a mediator."
Jones said there are highly technical issues involved, but again didn't go into details.
Dallas split its $10 million reduction, taking a $5 million cut this year and the rest next season if the penalty isn't overturned.
Even with $5 million less, the Cowboys were able to fill some pressing needs in free agency. They then moved up eight spots while giving up their second-round pick in the draft to select LSU All-America cornerback Morris Claiborne sixth overall.
Dallas got its top offseason target in free agency, signing cornerback Brandon Carr to a $50 million, five-year contract with $26.5 million guaranteed. Offensive linemen Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings got starter-worthy multiyear contracts, and Dallas also signed backup quarterback Kyle Orton, safety Brodney Pool, linebacker Dan Connor and fullback Lawrence Vickers.
"Certainly we've been able to adjust. It was a big surprise to us to have that downward adjustment in our cap," Jones said. "We usually always are looking for room under the cap, so it was very meaningful for us to have to make that adjustment, but I can tell you as we stand here right now, we didn't not do anything that we wanted to do."
But Jones said the reduction forced the team to "go into the future and get some of those dollars that we wouldn't have had to do had we not had that adjustment. So that will just create a challenge for us in the future."
Updated May 9, 2012