The Redskins' Latest Contract Blunder

Joe M.Correspondent IIFebruary 27, 2009

Today, the Washington Redskins kicked off another NFL offseason of free agency by signing the so-called "top" defensive tackle on the market to a ridiculous (but typical but almost expected from this franchise) contract.

Yes, I am referring to the seven-year, $100-million contract given to Albert Haynesworthless, uh, I mean, Haynesworth.

Does this franchise never learn? Let's break down the last few seasons.


In 2002, the Redskins went 7-9.

The Steve Spurrier-led 'Skins opened free agency by signing former first-round bust WR Jacquez Green for one year at $525,000, though he had done nothing with Tampa Bay, and also former Florida Gator and fellow first-round bust Reidel Anthony. Then, there was Renaldo Wynn to a (six years, $21 million) Jeremiah Trotter (six years, $36 million), and Jessie Armstead (three years, $45 million). That's a total bill of $59 million, not counting Anthony.


In 2003, the Redskins went 5-11.

Dubbed the "Jet-skins," Washington raided the 9-7 Jets team and either signed or traded for K John Hall, return man Chad Morton (at four years, $58 million), G Randy Thomas (at six years, $28 million), and WR Laveranues Coles (at seven years, $35 million). They also nabbed former 49er Dave Fiore, who proceeded to retire three games into his contract due to a career-ending injury. Apparently injuries were nothing new for him, yet they still gave him a massive deal.

They also picked up former first-rounder Reagan Upshaw, who had been most recently with the Raiders, but who had done nothing in Tampa. He lasted all of one season.

The total came to $74 million, not including Fiore and Upshaw.


In 2004, the Redskins went 6-10.

In the offseason, they spent big money on defense via Phillip Daniels, Shawn Springs (six years, $30 million),  and Cornelius Griffin (six years, $25 million).

While these moves were better than past year's, it no less continued to demonstrate Washington's "Monopoly-like" spending habits. The total for 2004 was $69 million on three free agents.


In 2005, the Redskins went 10-6 after signing no notable free agents in the offseason. Maybe because they were coming off their first playoff appearance in six years and didn't want to mess up a good thing?


But in 2006, they were back to their old ways, going 5-11.

They signed glorified return man Antwaan Randle-El for No. 1 receiver-type money, and widely-renowned safety bust Adam Archuleta got a five-year, $35 million contract. A total bill of $66 million for the two.


In 2007, the Redskins went 9-7.

They went for moody Fred Smoot (who the Vikings probably would have driven to the airport) for five years and $25 million and London Fletcher for five years and $25 million. Their due sum of $50 million doesn't count the money they lost to OT Ross Tucker, who, like Fiore years before, retired due to a careeer-ending injury.


In 2008, Washington went 8-8 after getting no notable free agents.


Since Daniel Synder bought the team in 1997, the team has went 90-101-1 (.471), yet has spent at least $318 million on just the free agents I have chosen to highlight here. There were many, many other transactions that are debatable at best, i.e., those involving Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, and the recently-released Marcus Washington.

Now, I realize that most of this money isn't guaranteed, but it's the principle of the matter. They simply don't learn from their mistakes and they sign too many older players to career-ending contracts, and these guys come in with nothing to play for. On top of that, they more often than not have already seen their best days outside of D.C., yet aWashington still rewards them with five or seven years' worth. This is inexcusable.

Hayneswirth is no exception. They're looking at $100 due to him ($54 million guaranteed, including a disturbing and unprecedented $32 million in the first 13 months).

Who will be the next aged superstar to get huge money from the 'Skins? Ray Lewis?

He'd be a "perfect" (typical) fit here based on the above criteria and past precedent. They'll justify it with their need at LB with the release of Marcus Washington today.

I can't wait to see him pack it in now that he got paid. It's not like he'll see every penny of the deal (we all know that, that's why there's signing bonus money), but the guarantees are alarming.

Will he necessarily "pack it in," wonder? FWell, he has the reputation of being lazy, and he's also coming off a Pro Bowl season in a contract year. He has no more incentive to play well.

He's a dirty player: Just ask the Dallas Cowboys' Andre Gurode. Why does this factor in? Can you imagine the disruption he'll cause the team when they don't win? I see off-field issues (perhaps arrests) in his future that will hurt the team's public image.

Contracts of this magnitude were once rare in the NFL. Brett Favre and Drew Bledsoe once signed 10-year, $100 million contracts with their respective teams. Their management didn't expect to see them play out, they just wanted to be sure they were in the fold for what was to be the rest of their careers. We all know how each case turned out.

But now players like Haynesworth are getting them? What happened?

Prior to this season's breakout numbers of 8.5 sacks, 51 tackles, Haynesworth averaged 2.5 sacks and 36 tackles per year. I don't like his chances of a repeat of 2008.

How is he going to help a team that plays in the same division as the New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles, all of whom had better records than last year's Washington club, and two of which made the Playoffs?

It's a "perfect marriage," similar to when idiots, like Terrell Owens, go to hated teams, such as the Cowboys. When the team loses, players like Owens lose as a result, and it makes cheering against them all the easier. Thank Mr. Moneybags for that.

By the way, I'm not a bitter fan for a rival team who doesn't want my team to have to "deal" with him.

Like I said, I look forward to seeing him "pack it in" and scrape by each year; but in reality, it's not all his fault. He's just the latest player to be rewarded by a dysfunctional team that refuses to learn from its mistakes.

Due to all this, I'll put the over/under at three years before he is cut, and I'm putting my money on under. Add this and DeAngelo Hall's six-year, $54-million deal as the latest blunders by the team that never learns.

We've racked up a bill of $154 million so far, and it's only Day One of free agency. Stay tuned.


An commenter on ESPN today noted that the Redskins do this every year. They become the winners in free agency, jump out to a 3-1 or 4-2 start, and the media gets all excited. Then they finish 9-7.

He admitted that once in a while they'll go 10-6 and lose in the Wild Card Round. Why would next year be any different?

How the fans can continue to follow this team is beyond me, but I'm not chastising. I feel sorry. They deserve a better product on the field for the money they pay; instead, they put up with sloppy seconds.

I don't blame Haynesworth as a person for taking the money while it's there. I have no loyalty to the Redskins, yet I'd take ithe cash if it were offered to me. It's a smart business decision, and he'll be closer to his South Carolina home.

Hey, it could be worse: He could be going to Cincinnati, Oakland, Seattle, or Detroit.

But I do blame him for playing well in a contract year only to screw the sucker Redskins into this deal.

Will Washington ever learn? They've got an opportunity to show they can, as I see Coles was just released by the Jets...