While we wait for the NFL to come down hard on the New Orleans Saints for their shady on-field practices during 2009, 2010 and 2011, the league has punished two other teams for their shady off-field practices during 2010.

See, as a result of the expiring collective bargaining agreement, there was no salary cap that year. And with that in mind, the league cautioned teams not to manipulate the situation by dumping cash into salaries for 2010 only.

Apparently, the Cowboys and Redskins didn’t listen to that friendly suggestion from the head office, and now they’re paying a much larger price.

As punishment for such loading practices, the league is taking away $36 million in cap space from Washington and $10 million in cap space from Dallas, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That money will then be shared by 28 of the other 30 teams, with the Raiders and Saints (New Orleans can’t catch a break) neither losing nor gaining anything.

That essentially means that neither team has a dollar to spend in free agency. And it also might help explain Washington’s decision to pull the trigger on a blockbuster trade and move up to the No. 2 spot in the draft. The ‘Skins were probably well aware that they were going to lose all or most of their cap space, which automatically removed the team from any sort of free agency sweepstakes, especially those involving Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn.

Word on that deal leaked Friday night, but we kept hearing that it wasn’t originally supposed to be made public until Monday. Now that also seems to make sense, as the team was more than likely notified that Monday would be the day in which word would get out that the team was essentially going to be handcuffed on the open market. News of a big trade in the draft might have helped minimize the bad press stemming from an embarrassing development such as this one.

Now, Redskins fans might have mixed feelings. They have their apparent quarterback of the future, but they have no money to spend on his complementary parts. And why? Because the very regime that is in place right now ignored the league’s instructions in order to soften the impending blows that were generated by bad contracts handed to scrubs like DeAngelo Hall and Albert Haynesworth (who made a combined $36 million on the dot in 2010).

Their creativity did not pay off.