On Thursday, legal representatives for the Cowboys, Redskins and NFL will appear before a mediator in regards to the appeal of the $46 million salary cap adjustment levied against the two teams.
The NFL has already filed a motion to dismiss the grievance by the Cowboys and Redskins, and Thursday's hearing will focus on whether or not the teams have legal grounds for an appeal.
Stephen Burbank, the University of Pennsylvania professor who serves as the league's arbitrator for CBA issues, is not expected to rule immediately.
If things go in favor of the teams, a second hearing would likely be needed. The Cowboys are attempting to recoup the $10 million that was taken away from their salary cap over the next two years, while Washington is fighting for $36 million.
"I wouldn't dare try to predict what the resolution will be," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "But I'm glad we've got an opportunity to present it, under the labor agreement, to a mediator, and that's what tomorrow's all about, whether or not we do have the opportunity to be before him. It won't resolve the issue, but it will help decide whether or not we can go before a mediator."
Even if the teams get back the cap money, it may be too late to help in 2012, as the top free agents are already off the market. Still, the Cowboys signed more veterans in 2012 than in the history of the current free agency system.
"Certainly we've been able to adjust," Jones said. "It was a big surprise to us to have that downward adjustment in our cap. It's very meaningful to us because we usually always are looking for room under the cap . . . but, I can tell you that as we stand here right now, we didn't not do anything that we wanted to do.
"What we've had to do, though, because they've reduced the amount of dollars we had this year, we had to go into the future and get some of those dollars that we wouldn't have had to do if we wouldn't have had that adjustment. That'll just create a challenge for us in the future."
The Cowboys and Redskins spent the most on player salaries in 2010, an "uncapped year."
"I know we followed the rules," Jones said. "The league has not said that we did not follow the rules, and those were approved contracts. This is complicated issue."