Washington Redskins Not Innocent Bystanders in Albert Haynesworth Mess

Michael Schottey@SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterJune 16, 2010

LANDOVER, MD - AUGUST 22:  Albert Haynesworth #92 of the Washington Redskins watches the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Fed Ex Field on August 22, 2009 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Albert Haynesworth is a petulant child.


That isn't a new concept. It has been said for years. It was said during his big free agency push. It was said earlier this spring, and it is being said now.

Do not think for a moment that this article will excuse Albert Haynesworth.

But people, Daniel Snyder is not in his first rodeo here.

Snyder didn't just start making bad decisions and wasting money.

It isn't like no one told him Haynesworth's massive contract would be a problem. Haynesworth didn't start being a problem child yesterday. Snyder knew the story about Big Al when he signed him.

He also knew Mike Shanahan when he hired him.

A hire he shouldn't have made.

You heard me.

It takes two to tango, and Snyder should have known he was in for trouble when he started mismatching dancing cards.

Haynesworth, the world's biggest million-dollar baby, shouldn't have been paired up with Shanahan, a coach famous for wanting things his way.


Daniel Snyder Is Not To Be Pitied


If anything, this is another example of Americas' worst professional sports owner (Al Davis, you can thank me later) meddling too much and too ignorantly when it comes to his plaything.

Shanahan and Bruce Allen might solve that going forward, but the damage with Haynesworth is all on Snyder.

This is not saying that Shanahan isn't the best man for the job in Washington, he probably is. But, with Haynesworth already on board, it was a disaster waiting to happen.

One way or another, Snyder was going to lose money in this partnership.

Shanahan wanted to run the 3-4 from the beginning, everyone and their mother knew that. Haynesworth didn't want to play in the 3-4; all 32 teams knew that the previous summer.

The fact the train wreck wasn't more sudden, violent, and disastrous is the only surprise in this whole mess.

When he signed Haynesworth, Snyder had a plan. He structured the deal with a big signing bonus and a big bonus at the end of year one (the uncapped year). Snyder wanted Haynesworth in D.C. and wanted to make sure no one else got him.

Then, Snyder put a bonus in a few years down the road to inflate the overall price tag of the contract and entice Haynesworth to stick around through years two, three, and four.

When he hired Shanahan, Snyder hoped (falsely) that he could keep the odd couple together for a few years, so that Haynesworth's playing time had begun to equal the bonuses.

Big Al was never going to see that third bonus.

Snyder, like any NFL owner, would have looked at the major dollar signs and a (likely) declining player over 30 and Al would've been gone quicker than a cheeseburger at the Haynesworth house.

No one in the world complains when a team cuts a player before a big bonus. That is the way the NFL works.


Haynesworth, in Addition To Being a Petulant Child, Is Also a Moron

Haynesworth wanted to find out what happens when a player demands a trade after a big bonus.

Now, with the knowledge that he wasn't going to be able to hoodwink even the dumbest owner around, he has the option of giving some of that money back in order to facilitate a trade.

If he was willing to give up a large chunk of that bonus today, Haynesworth would be traded tomorrow.

End of story.

The bigger problem is, this whole scenario is making his trade value sink faster than his pectorals will at age 40. So while the Redskins might be willing to let him go, they don't want to let him go for nothing.

He isn't helping.


Mike Shanahan Isn't Helping Either

What is Shanahan's obsession with the 3-4 defense?

Does he think it's a foolproof defense? Does he think it's an easier defense to find personnel for? Does he think it's the wave of the NFL future?

If the answer to any of those questions are yes, Shanahan was the wrong hire and Snyder needs to rethink his decision.

The 3-4 is not inherently better, it's just different.

It's difference, from the 4-3, in terms of scouting and drafting was what made it better, for a time.

The Super Bowl just matched up two very different defensive styles, both with four-man fronts. Of the final four teams in the NFL playoffs, three ran four-man fronts.

Baltimore went from a base 3-4 to actually playing more 4-3 in 2009 and still finished with the third-ranked defense.

The 3-4 is not a panacea.

And the more teams that run it, the less effective it is going to be.

However, Mike Shanahan still could have kept his 3-4 aspirations and still placated his star defensive player.

It's called a hybrid defense.

All Shanahan would've had to do was tell Haynesworth that the team would install some three-man fronts and he could be a part of them, but didn't have to be. For Haynesworth's sake, the four-man fronts could've remained a large (but shrinking) part of the defensive playbook.

It is unlikely Haynesworth would have played more than 60 percent of the team's defensive snaps anyway.

Shanahan would've had to bend just a little to make this all work out OK.

He didn't.

He has to share some of the blame.


But Daniel Snyder Created This Mess

This is the NFL, not college, and certainly not high school football. When you give a player $100 million, it is assumed he's running at least part of the show! That isn't the way the fans want it, but its the way it is.

Haven't you seen The Replacements!?!?

You don't hire a West Coast offense coach if you already have vertical passer like Drew Brees, and you don't hire a Tampa 2 coach if you have Ray Lewis.

Snyder could have gone down a lot of different roads these past two summers that would have been harmonious, successful, and made him a lot of cash.

Instead, Snyder pays his big free agent a ton of guaranteed bonus money and then decides to hire a coach who demands to run the 3-4 defense, seemingly forgetting that one of Haynesworth's biggest demands in free agency was that the team was a 4-3 team.

That isn't a mistake.

That is wilful ignorance.

Don't feel sorry for Albert Haynesworth, he is trying to have his cake, pie, strudel, donuts and eat them too.

But stop feeling sorry for the Redskins.

Daniel Snyder created this mess; as always, it is the fans have to live with it.


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