Shana­han con­cedes cap hit hin­dered plans in free agency

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports - BY RICH CAMP­BELL

PALM BEACH, FLA. | The Washington Red­skins’ salary cap sit­u­a­tion, weak­ened by an $18 mil­lion penalty for 2012, has af­fected their abil­ity to sign free agents this off­sea­son, coach Mike Shana­han in­ti­mated Wed­nes­day.

Shana­han at the NFL an­nual meet­ings stayed united with owner Daniel Sny­der and gen­eral man­ager Bruce Allen in de­clin­ing to com­ment on the ar­bi­tra­tion process. The team is dis­put­ing the penalty, which was im­posed by the NFL and agreed upon by the play­ers as­so­ci­a­tion.

“Right now, I’m not al­lowed to talk about it,” Shana­han said. “Be­lieve me, I’d like to, but I can’t.”

Shana­han, how­ever, seemed ag­i­tated the Red­skins re­ceived of­fi­cial no­tice of the penalty “an hour be­fore” the start of free agency March 13.

The league docked Washington $18 mil­lion in each of the next two sea­sons for re­struc­tur­ing con­tracts to dump pay­ments into the un­capped 2010 sea­son.

The Red­skins ex­pected to en­ter free agency with ap­prox­i­mately $36 mil­lion in cap space. In­stead, that was cut in half.

Washington signed re­ceivers Pierre Gar­con and Josh Mor­gan in the open­ing hours of free agency but failed to land wide re­ceiver Eddie Royal. Shana­han dined with Royal, who he drafted in Den­ver, on the night of March 13. But Washington never had an agree­ment with him, Shana­han said, and Royal signed with San Diego.

“You’ve got to make some tough de­ci­sions rel­a­tive to the cap,” Shana­han said.

Also, in­side line­backer London Fletcher re­mains un­signed.

“I can’t get into de­tail; all I can say is we want him,” Shana­han said. “There’s con­ver­sa­tions on­go­ing be­tween agents. That’s part of the process. We’ll let that take its course, but I’m hop­ing he’s part of our or­ga­ni­za­tion, and I ex­pect him to be.” might dis­ci­pline the Red­skins for any il­le­gal non-con­tract bonus pay­ment pro­gram that might have ex­isted un­der for­mer de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Gregg Wil­liams, he said Wed­nes­day.

How­ever, Shana­han ac­knowl­edged that sanc­tions are pos­si­ble, as NFL com­mis­sioner Roger Good­ell vowed Mon­day to con­tinue the league’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of bounty pro­grams.

Wil­liams is sus­pended in­def­i­nitely from the NFL be­cause he ran a bounty pro­gram while serv­ing as the de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor of the New Or­leans Saints, his em­ployer from 2008 through 2011.

He served as the Red­skins’ de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor from 2004 through 2007. Five play­ers and one for­mer as­sis­tant coach told The Washington Post last month that Wil­liams ran a non-con­tract bonus pay­ment pro­gram while in Washington. For­mer Red­skins safety Matt Bowen de­tailed the pro­gram in a piece he wrote for the Chicago Tri­bune.

It would be up to the league to dis­tin­guish be­tween such an il­le­gal bonus-pay­ment sys­tem and an il­le­gal ‘ bounty’ sys­tem that re­warded in­jur­ing op­po­nents, and then de­ter­mine any penal­ties.

“They’ve got to go through the process,” Shana­han said. “You go back through ev­ery place that some­body has been. You know ex­actly what hap­pened.”

The NFL has in­ter­viewed Red­skins di­rec­tor of player de­vel­op­ment Phillip Daniels, who played for Washington dur­ing Wil­liams’ ten­ure, Shana­han said.

“I think Phillip Daniels’ quote was best,” Shana­han said, ‘He said, ‘I was at ev­ery meet­ing — ev­ery meet­ing — and I can guar­an­tee you noth­ing like that went on.’ That’s a guy that was in all those meet­ings. That’s about all I can say about it.”

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