Detroit Lions: Albert Haynesworth is not worth the trouble.
I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with Japanese anime. Honestly, besides two shows, I don’t really get into it much. However, those two shows I find really interesting.
One of the shows, FullMetal Alchemist comes to mind when I think about Detroit picking up Albert Haynesworth.
Let me explain.
Fullmetal Alchemist is about two brothers practicing the ancient art of alchemy.
Of course, since this is a cartoon, this isn’t just turning base metals into gold, but changing the properties of almost anything for military purposes.
However, there are rules.
The main rule of alchemy according to the show is equivalent exchange: In order to get something, something of equal value must be given.
See where this is going?
On the field, Albert Haynesworth is a monster.
Or, at least can be.
He registered 8.5 sacks and 41 solo tackles in 2008. While slipping some last season in Washington, he still mustered four sacks and 29 solo tackles.
Haynesworth's presence improves any defense, as teams must gameplan to stop him.
But, nothing is free.
This is where the equivalent exchange reference comes into play.
In order to get that monster on the field, they have to deal with the monster in the locker room.
This isn’t about picking up a free agent.
This isn’t about a team falling out of favor with a player and wanting to cut ties.
This isn't about an aging veteran looking for one last run at a title while his team is rebuilding.
This is about a player trying to strong arm his way off the team, after accepting $21m for being on the team to begin with.
I won’t go into judging Big Al as a man. I don’t know him.
I also don’t know what he was told to make him feel like he was lied to.
But if his situation is as simple as this, then I can’t completely say I don’t understand.
However, a deal is a deal.
Haynesworth has 21 million reasons to be at camp.
Besides, how different can being in a 3-4 be?
Sure, a player of AH’s caliber is going to face double teams. According to KC Joyner of ESPN.com, the amount of extra double teams he is looking at is minimal.
Besides, if you are an elite DT and not getting double teamed, you’re not elite.
With a $21m roster bonus (money for agreeing to play) you better eat blockers like Pac-Man does power pellets.
Then, there is the winning issue.
We’ve been down this road before, haven’t we?
We had an elite man up front in Shaun Rogers.
When he played well, the team won.
Without him? Well, we know how that season ended.
Shaun didn’t take losing very well.
I mean, who does?
It drove Barry away and those teams were like dynasties compared to what we’ve seen from the cubs, er, I mean club recently.
What kind of effect would that have on Haynesworth if the winning wasn’t immediate?
He already feels he is bigger than the team. How else would you expect a top flight player on a struggling team to respond?
By thinking it was the rest of the team’s fault?
Anybody remember Dre Bly telling anyone who would listen the Lions’ losing was because of Joey Harrington?
Let’s see, Bly was a top-flight corner coming off back to back Pro Bowls and the rest of the team… well, not so much.
Bly drove a stretch Hummer over Joey because, maybe, a bus just wasn’t good enough.
Losing has that effect on “star” players.
Otherwise, LeBron James would’ve made a commitment by now to return to Cleveland.
Carrying other grown men isn’t part of the job description unless you’re a firefighter.
If anyone knows me at all, they know I like statistical breakdowns (and I’m overly optimistic depending on who you’re asking).
Let’s breakdown what we would be getting in Big Al.
In eight seasons, he’s accumulated 229 solo tackles, 80 assists and 28 sacks. On average, we would be looking at 28.6 tackles, 10 assists and 3.5 sacks.
Now, you could look at it as his presence would create opportunities for others, but isn’t that what he is mad about right now?
It's obvious, he’s an impact player. Defensive tackles do not generally fill stat sheets. The personality and attitude isn’t worth the limited production and cap space.
I don’t have to be an anime character practicing alchemy to understand equivalent exchange.
I don’t even have to be a math major to get that limited production doesn’t equal a 6’6" 350 pound cry-baby.
I don’t care how valid your argument is, when you take $21m, you do everything asked of you.
And you smile about it, happily.
Let me know how you feel.