ARLINGTON, Texas --Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the team will not take their $10 million salary cap issue to federal court after arbitrator Stephen Burbank dismissed their appeal.
In March, the Cowboys and Redskins filed grievances against the NFL and the NFLPA over a combined $46 million in salary cap penalties for what the league determined was improper contract structure during the 2010 uncapped year.
On March 12 – the eve of free agency -- the Cowboys were stripped of $10 million in cap space over the next two years. The Redskins lost $36 million.
Burbank did not rule in either team's favor. The Cowboys relinquished $5 million in cap space this offseason, and the other $5 million will now move off the books in 2013.
"We honor the arbitrator's ruling," Jones said Wednesday at Cowboys Stadium. "The ruling was that the place to hear this was not in his jurisdiction. The place to hear it was over in federal court, which we're not interested in getting involved like that."
The NFL's original statement on the cap penalties said that "the contract practices of a small number of clubs during the 2010 league year created an unacceptable risk to future competitive balance, particularly in light of the relatively modest salary cap growth projected for the new agreement's early years."
The Cowboys were not found to have violated salary cap rules, but the league apparently took issue with teams front-loading of contracts during the uncapped year. For example, wide receiver Miles Austin received a $17 million base salary in the first of a six-year, $54 million contract that year. Austin's 2011 base salary was $685,000 after his contract was restructured to create more cap room.
The Cowboys' contention was that all contracts must be approved first by the NFL Management Council, and there was no such issue with the league in 2010.