The moment has arrived to end their toxic relationship. It’s time for Washington to close the book on the biggest free-agent blunder in NFL history.
Removing Haynesworth from the team now makes sense for many reasons, the salary cap chief among them.
The defensive tackle has a salary of $5.4 million this season, $1.8 million more than his 2010 base pay. Haynesworth’s salary would become guaranteed if he’s on the 53-man roster for the first regular season game.
That’s money the Redskins could spend on a player or players who may actually help them.
Last April, all the prorated money in Haynesworth’s deal was eliminated when the Redskins paid him a $21 million bonus. Because of that move, Washington would save $5.4 million off the cap by dumping his contract. There would be no negative cap ramifications for Washington.
Although the Redskins have cap flexibility, more flexibility would only help them in pursuing free agents. Also, it’s not just about having space for signings. More cap room means more trade potential.
And after finishing last or tied for last four of the past five seasons, the Redskins cannot afford to waste opportunities.
Their defense was horrendous last season. The talent level along the line must improve, and if possible, upgrading at inside linebacker and cornerback would make sense. Then there are all of the big holes on offense.
During two disappointing seasons, Haynesworth has received almost $35 million while playing in 20 games. Dissatisfied with his role, he has been accused of insubordination and was suspended for the final four games in 2010 for conduct detrimental to the club.
Combined with his off-field legal issues, Haynesworth has little trade value, though there are still a few teams that would strongly consider offering the Redskins a low-round pick in exchange for him. Tennessee previously offered the Redskins a draft choice for Haynesworth, a two-time all-pro with that franchise, but Coach Mike Shanahan rejected the Titans’ proposal.
Shanahan is believed to be seeking a high-round pick for Haynesworth, which he surely won’t receive, so releasing Haynesworth is Washington’s most viable option to end the long-running drama.
Paid almost $24 million in bonuses and salary last season, Haynesworth occasionally displayed the ability that helped him become the No. 1 player in the 2009 free agent class. Ultimately, though, his differences with Shanahan were too wide to bridge, and his performance suffered.
Haynesworth’s unwillingness to commit to Shanahan’s program — after signing a contract for the most guaranteed money in league history at the time — is unacceptable to Shanahan. The notion of Haynesworth possibly “winning” infuriates Shanahan, people at Redskins Park say.