Redskins' Albert Haynesworth on trading block

Haynesworth (Jonathan Newton - Washington Post)
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By Jason Reid
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Not long after paying defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth's bonus with one of the largest checks in NFL history, the Redskins are actively attempting to trade the Pro Bowler before this month's draft, people familiar with the situation said Tuesday.

Coach Mike Shanahan has instructed General Manager Bruce Allen to identify potential destinations for Haynesworth, whom the Redskins paid a $21 million bonus April 1, and the Redskins have talked with multiple teams about the eight-year veteran. Through team spokesman Zack Bolno, the Redskins declined to comment.

The Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans -- whom Haynesworth left to join the Redskins before the 2009 season for $41 million in guaranteed money -- are among the teams that could be interested in acquiring the two-time all-pro selection. Haynesworth prospered in Tennessee under the tutelage of Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

Though it is possible Haynesworth could remain with the team if a suitable deal can't be ironed out, the Redskins would prefer to move him before their first voluntary three-day minicamp that runs from April 16-18, said the people familiar with the team's plans. Haynesworth's potential presence during the minicamp, at which media members are permitted to attempt to conduct interviews with all players, could present an uncomfortable situation for the Redskins.

Shanahan's desire to excise Haynesworth from the roster stems from Haynesworth's reluctance to play nose tackle in the Redskins' new 3-4 scheme and his decision to train individually instead of participating in the team's voluntary offseason conditioning program at Redskins Park.

Shanahan and Haynesworth have had at least two conversations about the former subject, and neither man has changed his stance. In negotiating their trade for Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb, the Redskins included Haynesworth in some of their offers to the Philadelphia Eagles. Washington acquired McNabb for a second-round pick this season and either a third- or fourth-round pick, based on McNabb's performance this season, in the 2011 draft.

The Redskins' willingness to include Haynesworth as part of their offer for McNabb, however, occurred before Haynesworth was paid the $21 million bonus, the sources said.

After the Redskins were unsuccessful in moving Haynesworth before the bonus was due, it was believed they would try to find an agreeable role for him this season, largely because he has been paid $32 million within the first 14 months of his seven-year, $100 million deal. Haynesworth is guaranteed another $9 million in base salary over the next two seasons.

But at Shanahan's direction, the Redskins have continued to speak with teams about taking Haynesworth, who would be receptive to a change of scenery where he wouldn't have to play nose tackle, the sources said.

In a meeting in January at the complex, Haynesworth expressed his concerns about a position switch and explained how he could best be used to help defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. Shanahan, however, has not wavered in his belief that the Redskins would benefit most from having Haynesworth play where he determines.

Though he appeared in just 12 games last season, Haynesworth participated in the second-highest number of plays among Redskins defensive linemen (defensive end Andre Carter led the group).

Haynesworth had four sacks -- his lowest total since the 2006 season -- but Carter and defensive end/outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (11 sacks each) benefited from Haynesworth's presence along the line, former Redskins coaches said.

Shanahan and Haslett are well aware of Haynesworth's ability to collapse the pocket from the interior and realize he recently had a two-year run as arguably the game's top defensive player, people in the organization said. Apparently, though, they would rather have players who are committed to their scheme.

Haynesworth also clashed with former defensive coordinator Greg Blache over Blache's reluctance to give Haynesworth the freedom to freelance as he regularly did with the Titans. Haynesworth blasted Blache after being kicked out of practice on Christmas Day.

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