Thursday, September 2, 2010

Redskins' trades with Rams under investigation by NFLPA

Earlier this week, the Redskins made two separate trades with the Rams that seemed a little strange at the time. In one deal, the Redskins acquired linebacker Hall Davis, a fifth-round draft selection. In another, the Rams acquired tight end Dennis Morris, the Redskins' sixth-round pick. Each player was traded for a future conditional draft pick.

Davis, oddly enough, was cut after just one practice with the Redskins, and although Morris hasn't been cut by the Rams yet, he's not expected to remain on the roster beyond Saturday, when rosters are trimmed down to 53 players.

According to Redskins Insider via an ESPN report by Chris Mortensen, the NFL Players Association is currently investigating a potential rule violation:
In the current uncapped year, a team must pay a drafted rookie 85 percent of his first-year minimum-wage $310,000 salary if the team chooses to release the player. But by shipping the rookie to another team and allowing that new team to then release him, the original team doesn't lose any money. And that appears to be what happened this week -- twice.
Because it's an uncapped season, things are a little different and it looks like the Redskins and Rams may have been trying to save a little money. According to the ESPN report, the above rule, called the 85-percent rule, "has been in the CBA since 1993 but this is the first year it has been triggered because there is no salary cap in 2010."

By trading away Morris and allowing the Rams release him, the Redskins could potentially save $272,000. The Rams would benefit from a similar amount of savings after Davis's release from the Redskins.

Two quotes from Richard Berthelsen of the NFLPA in the ESPN report are worth noting:
"It's true that we're monitoring it but we wouldn't do anything until the end of the year when we know the proportion that is either paid out or not paid out. . . . Unless there's some hidden provision I don't know about, then these teams may not understand the rule itself but I'm sure they will now. Like I said, that's not something we would be able to verify until after the season."
Here's my take: I'm sure both teams' front offices knew about the rule; why would they make such a trade in the first place if they didn't? And how often does a team acquire a player only to cut him after a single practice? I'm sure it doesn't happen that much -- at all. Maybe the Redskins and Rams figure they can get one over on the league and save a little money. But I guess we'll have to wait until after the season to find out what really happened and if there will be any punishment.

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