When Albert Haynesworth was just a few days to becoming a free agent after his dominating 2008 season with the Tennessee Titans, it wasn’t a matter of how much, but how long.
Haynesworth signed just hours after the midnight deadline, and chose to go to Washington and be the staple of one of the already solid defenses in the league.
A nose tackle with the ability to be an effective pass rusher in one on one’s and cause confusion and double teams on every play he’s in the game, Haynesworth was a rare talent that a big spender like Daniel Snyder just couldn’t pass up.
And on paper, the move made sense. They had already focused on the defensive line on the outside, continuously adding veteran defensive ends and young talents like Brian Orakpo on the edge.
But after a 100+ million dollar contract later, things haven’t gone quite according to plan. Instead of getting a front line that rivals the Minnesota Vikings, arguably the best 4-3 defense in the league, the defense added a headache and a 300-pounder who has been in the news more times during his tenure in Washington than he has sacks since 2008.
Now, Haynesworth has declared that it is his desire to be traded from the team that made him the richest defensive lineman in NFL history. And not because he’s been treated unfairly, or feels that the team is in such disarray that they can’t win.
He just doesn’t like the defense. Instead of adapting to the scheme or finding a niche for his tremendous skill set, he’s just wants to give up, move on.
I, for one, am one that usually gives the player the benefit of the doubt. Keep in mind that teams and beat writers are the main source of NFL news, so we don’t get both sides of the story.
But as far as I’ve heard, Haynesworth feels he’s already made his money, and has given up on a franchise seemingly on the right track with Mike Shanahan on board.
I hope he doesn’t get traded and has to stick it out with the Redskins. I hope he does lose playing time. I hope he does have to pay the Redskins 26 million dollars because he’s missing on training camp.
And not because I’m jealous of the amount of cash he reels in per week. Not because I’m a Redskins fan, not because I’m a big money athlete hater.
But because Haynesworth has it in him to be a dominating force in the NFL, and one I enjoyed watching in his prime. And the longer he drags this on and the less and less work he does with his NFL team, the less impactful and well-thought of he’ll be to fans.
Daniel Snyder has the money to still succeed as a salary distributor and team owner. But the frustration and locker room concerns that come from this situation may be the difference for this team from winning the NFC East and fighting for that final playoff spot, all thanks to an unnecessary weakness at nose tackle.