Albert Haynesworth and the Redskins: Stuck With Each Other For The Time Being
Say all the negative things that you want about Albert Haynesworth, they will probably be true. I am not going to defend him as a person or a player. Troublemaker, distraction, quitter, narcissist, malcontent, locker room lawyer, you name it. (And that's just his on the field stuff!) Still, if you think that the Redskins are going to trade Albert Haynesworth, or at least do so before the end of this season, you are mistaken.
Now if the Redskins could get a capable offensive lineman or wide receiver in a trade for Haynesworth, then perhaps it would happen. But come on ... no one is going to give that up for Haynesworth unless they get desperate. And because of the early trade deadline in the NFL - long before the playoff race gets truly underway - no one is going to be that desperate. Everybody knows that you need a QB to win in the NFL, but enough people believe that they can win without a Pro Bowl DT to try to get by as far as they can without one. Again, if it were week 12 and some 7-5 team was looking for an edge to get into the playoffs, or a 9-3 team was looking to fill a glaring weakness to become a bona fide Super Bowl contender, then sure. That's what happens in the NHL, the NBA and in Major League Baseball. Teams that are in the thick of things try to get better, and teams that aren't try to dump salaries. But in the NFL, the trade deadline is around week 6, and that is when GMs and coaches are still trying to delude themselves that the teams that they put together during the offseason are good enough.
But what if some team offers a high draft pick for Haynesworth? I am not going to discount the possibility of that happening. If Indianapolis keeps giving up 230 rushing yards to undrafted free agent tailbacks (as an example) then they will have to do SOMETHING one would figure, especially since they could just release Haynesworth at the end of the season. But even if it does, the Redskins don't want picks for Haynesworth. Why?
Simple: because the Redskins are trying to win football games NOW. They aren't building a team to contend 2-3 years from now. Instead, they are trying to contend TODAY. Now maybe had the Redskins lost an ugly, horrible game at home to the Cowboys, they would feel differently and right now be in the process of attempting to unload Haynesworth to the highest bidder. And perhaps if Kevin Kolb had gone out and thrown for 350 yards and 3 TDs in a blowout victory over Green Bay, they would have done the same. But neither of those things happened. Instead, Kolb looked lost, absolutely atrocious, against Green Bay. And the Redskins beat a Cowboys team that a lot of people are picking to win the NFC East. So, the Redskins can say to themselves "We're better than the team that we just beat, we're better than the Eagles whether Kolb or Vick is the QB, we have a real chance to improve during the season as our new OL and QB picks up the system and playing together where everyone else in the divison is a veteran team basically as good as they are going to get ... hey, this division is between us and the Giants!"
Now of course, people may disagree, but it makes sense from the Redskins' perspective. Donovan McNabb may have never won a Super Bowl, but he has taken a team there, and further he has gone to the playoffs 6 times. McNabb has proven that he can get a flawed team to the playoffs, period. And the Redskins have a great defense. They held an explosive Dallas offense to 7 points despite being on the field all game long! And when the OL and running game gets untracked, that great defense will get even better. McNabb plus a great defense? That formula got the Eagles to 4 straight NFC championship games. Why can't it work for the Redskins?
And Albert Haynesworth is a part of that great Redskins defense. Even looking lost and confused all night long, the guy still managed to log a solo tackle. The 4th round pick in next year's draft that the Tennessee Titans are offering the Redskins can't get out on the field and make a solo tackle. As a matter of fact, the #1 pick in next year's draft (which I guess will go to Detroit unless Matt Stafford's injury isn't as serious as currently thought ... why on earth do teams not take the backup QB position more seriously ... then again why do teams with terrible OLs and no running games keep drafting QBs #1 overall only to get them killed?) can't do that. Even if Haynesworth continues to pout, whine and underachieve, he will still help this team more this year than will any draft pick. That is why Haynesworth will be a Redskin this season.
Now next year ... who knows. If the draft comes along and the Titans or anyone else want Haynesworth, the Redskins want to get rid of him, then who knows. A 3rd or 4th round pick for a guy that you didn't draft in the first place and obviously isn't working out will look pretty good, especially if you can use that pick to fix one of the team needs (WR, RB, OL, safety, LB). But until then, anything that they get from Haynesworth is better than nothing, and nothing is what they will get THIS SEASON if they trade him during it (that is, again, unless they get a quality player in return).
Besides, of all the bad things that can be truthfully said about Haynesworth, the fact remains that the guy likes to win. He liked to win in high school (where he was a great player), he liked to win in college (where he was a great player), and he liked to win in the NFL (where he was a good player until his contract seasons, then he became a great player). If the Redskins start winning games and get into the playoff hunt, Haynesworth will get his head and attitude into the game and start making plays just like he did in 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2008 when the Titans made the playoffs. Haynesworth likes winning and he cares about winning. If the Redskins start piling up wins and Haynesworth believes that he has a shot at a playoff run, you had better believe that his stat sheet will be more impressive than one solo tackle.
Also, Haynesworth at some point will realize that he needs to play well if a team that he wants to go to is going to trade for him. (Haynesworth doesn't want to go back to Tennessee.) And he also knows that the Redskins are not going to dump him for a 6th round pick, and they aren't going to release him. Shanahan has made that clear. The Redskins are willing to bench him, but they aren't going to release him because A) they don't want another team to get him (the Giants, Vikings or the Eagles would claim him and his now reasonable contract now that his guaranteed money has been paid in a heartbeat) and B) see the reference to the guaranteed money that he has already pocketed in A). Haynesworth's ticket out of town is piling up tackles and sacks, and he will eventually come to that realization.
So, Redskins fans, you are stuck with Haynesworth for at least another season. Hope that you make a playoff run that results in Haynesworth's getting his act together to make that season with Haynesworth worth the trouble.
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