NFL Free Agency: Why Albert Haynesworth Makes Sense for Philadelphia Eagles
I’m a huge proponent of the social media service Twitter. Not necessarily for celebrities and other gossip personalities in entertainment, but for its service as an aggregate feed for all of my news. Sports, politics, stocks, entertainment, whatever, it’s all at my fingertips as I scroll through my feed.
Last week, I caught this gem posted by Pro Football Talk about how the Eagles were planning on going balls to the wall in free agency as soon as the lockout is lifted, and it made me feel pretty awesome inside.
I’m usually pretty tame with my emotions when it comes to Eagles football during the offseason. Whether fans in the 215 want to admit it or not, since there usually is a strong disdain for upper management figures such as Jeff Laurie, Joe Banner and Andy Reid, the Eagles are indeed one of the more active players in free agency on an annual basis.
Take a look back over the past couple years, and the Eagles do usually make the biggest splashes in free agency and trades. Last year, they traded Donovan McNabb; they traded for Jason Peters in 2009; signed Asante Samuel in 2008; and acquired Jevon Kearse and Terrell Owens back in 2004. Kearse obviously ended up being a bust (mainly because of injuries), but nobody had a problem with the signing at the time. In fact, the majority of fans were thrilled.
I know Albert Haynesworth probably has the worst reputation in the league right now when it comes to work ethic, but I would drive to the airport, pick him up, drive him to his mansion and present him with his midnight green jersey immediately if it were up to me. I wouldn’t go as far as un-retiring Reggie White’s No. 92; but I would strongly support the move of Haynesworth as a starting defensive tackle going into the 2011 season.
Reason No. 1: He has the worst reputation in the league when it comes to work ethic.
Yep, the same exact argument that people will use as to why not to sign Haynesworth, I’m going to use as a reason why they should. Haynesworth essentially got his $100 million deal from Washington ($41 million of that in guaranteed) and sleepwalked for two seasons with the team.
It makes perfect sense to sign a guy like this, right? Okay, maybe not. But stay with me.
First off, he’ll never sniff a deal close to that amount of money again, and I’m sure deep down inside he knows that. So any team that is going to be signing Haynesworth, whether it’s the Eagles or someone else, will know that they’re not going to invest a lot in this guy since they’re going to take a “wait and see” approach.
If Haynesworth has any sense of self-dignity or pride buried beneath his protruding gut, he would be a man on a mission to prove all of his haters wrong. Especially Mike Shanahan, Jim Haslett and the Redskins organization, who he would get the chance to face off against twice were he to sign with Philly.
I love reading articles stating Haynesworth is very, very angry with Washington, simply because I’m sure it gets his blood boiling. That is why I can’t see Haynesworth putting it in cruise control and simply showing up for a paycheck like he did in Washington.
Haynesworth is essentially that kid in algebra class who knows it all, is a genius, yet doesn’t apply himself because he realizes that in the end, he’s never going to use x + y = z in a real-life scenario.
It was the same exact situation with Randy Moss when he was basically a corpse rotting away in Oakland and then was traded to New England for peanuts. He then reminded us all that the guy is Randy *Bleeping* Moss, the greatest deep-threat in the history of the game.
It sounds trite and clichéd taking the “he’s gonna shock the world and prove everyone wrong!” route for an argument; but let’s not forget how seriously talented this guy was in Tennessee. He was an absolute monstrosity, he devoured interior offensive linemen and he was coronated as the best defensive player in the game. Which brings me to my next point.
Reason No. 2: His Tennessee defensive line coach, Jim Washburn, is now on the Eagles’ payroll.
Washburn decided to take his talents to the City of Brotherly Love and try to implement his skills as a defensive line coach with the Eagles. If there is anyone in the Eagles pipeline that is going to be pushing for Haynesworth hard, it’s going to be Washburn.
You think he cares what Haynesworth pulled in Washington? Absolutely not. He knows more than anybody what he is capable of being, and why would Haynesworth let him down? He knows that he owes Washburn a lot of credit for getting him paid and really the player that he became in Tennessee.
Reason #3: The Eagles haven’t had a legitimate “collapse the pocket” threat at defensive tackle since Corey Simon’s early days.
It’s been over ten years now since Corey Simon broke onto the scene as a rookie for the Eagles out of Florida State, compiling an impressive 9.5-sack campaign. This guy was going to be the cornerstone for the defense entering the new millennium. But unfortunately his play would severely diminish thereafter and he never lived up to expectations.
The Eagles’ two current starters at defensive tackle are the definition of mediocre (Brodrick Bunkley and Mike Patterson). They won’t kill you, yet at the same time, they’re not game-changers and they don’t make coaches game plan around them.
Right off the bat, Haynesworth would grab the attention of opposing offensive coordinators despite his terrible tenure with Washington. Don’t think that coaches are stupid. Like I mentioned, everyone knows what this guy is capable of. And if you want to take his slacking off as a positive, he’s essentially taken the last one-and-a-half years off, which can only help his body.
Haynesworth is basically the Randy Moss of defense. A highly-talented player and a once-in-a-generation force who, when applying himself, can’t be stopped from wreaking havoc by a human on this planet who doesn’t have a weapon.
I say, what the heck, take the chance. If he brings the same attitude that he had in Washington, you just cut him and stay with Bunkley, Patterson, Dixon and Laws.
However, if you get the alternative, which includes a spiteful Albert Haynesworth hell-bent on redeeming his image and hunting quarterbacks…
Now we’re talking.
But then again, I wouldn't be surprised if Mike Shanahan and Daniel Snyder shipped Haynesworth off to Siberia before trading him to a division rival.
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