The NFL's new 10-year CBA requires fewer on-field days and less contact in the offseason. They want to preserve players for the physical grind of the regular season and, of course, the eventual ratification of an 18-game regular season schedule so the owners can make more money.
Anyhow, the scaling back of physical contact did not include coaches, apparently, as Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan found out this week. He got blown up by second-year CB Brandyn Thompson, who was good enough to talk with us on "Inside the Locker Room" on ESPN 980, and Dan Steinberg was good enough to write it down.
"Well, I tipped the ball, and then I ran right into a person," Thompson explained. "And when it really sunk in was when you kind of looked down and you see who you hit, and then you're like, man. Of all the people to hit out here, I had to hit him. It was definitely a nerve-racking feeling, but I was definitely happy to see him get up."
As painful as that hit may have been, it was not the most painful thing that happened to Shanahan and the 'Skins this week. In this edition of "Chain Reactions," we deal with the painful verdict on the 'Skins Cap Case and who the Wizards need to dial up this offseason.
Redskins Lose Again in Cap Case
The Redskins were thrown for a loss this week (as were their new BFFs, the Dallas Cowboys) as they lost their appeal to regain their salary cap space for violations that were technically not violations in the uncapped year of 2010. If you are confused by this entire process, you are not alone.
The cliff notes version is something like this: There was officially an uncapped year in 2010. But unofficially, there was a "secret at $123 million salary cap" (allegedly) as the owners agreed to league wide "collusion" (also allegedly). The Redskins, Cowboys, Saints, and Raiders all broke the "unwritten" rules of that season. The 'Skins biggest sin, besides signing Albert Haynesworth, was that they renegotiated his contract along with DeAngelo Hall's to take the biggest hit in the uncapped season.
These "illegal" deals were actually given league approval, which, you would think, makes them legal. However, that's not the case, because they were punished. Also, the NFLPA signed off on the punishments to the franchises. Now, after further review, the NFLPA feels it is in fact "collusion" and has filed a lawsuit.
"Our union recently learned that there was a secret salary cap agreement in an uncapped year," NFLPA president Domonique Foxworth said. "The complaint today is our effort to fulfill our duty to every NFL player. They deserve to know, above all, the facts and the truth about this conspiracy."
Can't wait for another offseason of Court TV: NFL Edition. I'm not a lawyer but I don't think this will give the Redskins any cap space in the future. It will be fun to watch, since Commissioner Roger GOD-ell and the league conduct business like they are bulletproof these days. Now, the NFL lawyers need to be careful when sorting files; between all the "concussion" lawsuits and now "collusion" lawsuits, there could be some misplaced briefs.
So where does it leave the Redskins? Pretty much where they were before ... at least taking away RGIII was not part of the punishment.
Wizards Ought to Give Sloan a Shot
For the record, I like what Randy Wittman did with the Wizards. He held players accountable and was not afraid to get into the guys when they messed up. He did not mince words in postgame press conferences, either. The players seemed to respect and respond to him. I would be fine with him coming back next season.
That being said, if Jerry Sloan is really interested in coaching the Bobcats and a Magic team that may not have Dwight Howard, he surely would coach the Wizards. The former Utah Jazz coach clearly still has the itch. Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld should at least do his due deligence and find out if Sloan would be interested in coaching in D.C. Outside of Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, and Gregg Popovich, who would be a better candidate than Sloan? How about no one?
Sloan, a former Baltimore Bullet 3rd round pick, has a 1,221-803 coaching record that puts him 3rd all-time on the NBA wins list. He led the Jazz to 6 division titles and 10 seasons with 50 or more wins. They lost both their NBA Finals appearances to the Michael Jordan Bulls, so please spare me the line that he can't win the big one.
His teams play smart, tough, team basketball. As a player, Sloan was a tough guy that played defense (4-time all defensive team) and his teams usually followed suit. As the coach of the Jazz, he helped John Stockton become one of the game's premiere point guards, and he could certainly help John Wall's development.
The Wizards are attractive with Wall, another high draft pick (hopefully the 1st overall), Nene, cap flexibility, and a young core that showed some development down the stretch last season. There are worse franchises than the Wizards (the Bobcats, for one) who Sloan reportedly will interview with about their vacancy.
Sloan is one of the few NBA Coaches that has instant credibility. The Wizards could use some of that on the sideline. Let's also be real here; the Wizards need to put up some W's soon if they want to keep Wall longterm, or he might be on a ESPN Primetime Special announcing that he's "taking his talents" somewhere else.
The move would a be a sign to a fan base that they mean business. There are still many fans that are waiting to be wowed by owner Ted Leonsis' plan. He did not excite the masses with his stay the course re-signing of Grunfeld. However, this is what Leonsis did with the Capitals and he believes it will translate into the NBA as well. I admire the fact that he is not going to blow the way of public opinion.
Sure, Sloan is not getting any younger at 70 ( thought I wouldn't tell him that) and he would not come cheap. The Wizards are still on the hook for both Flip Saunders and Wittman. Back in the day, the Wizards often were paying multiple coaches who were no longer working for them, and that got them nowhere. Jerry Sloan, though, is not just another coach and he could get the young Wizards to grow up a lot quicker. It can't hurt to call him.