We’re still in wait-and-see mode, taking a look at the areas the Washington Redskins must address whenever the lockout ends (which could be soon). Yesterday it was a look at free agency, and on Tuesday Jason Reid’s column hit on the Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth situations.
Both are complicated, but Haynesworth’s certainly appears to be the messier situation of the two.
In 2009, the defensive lineman signed the richest contract for a player at his position ($41 million guaranteed and up to $100 million with incentives concluded). But he never lived up to expectations, to say the least, and clashed throughout last season with Shanahan and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett over his unwillingness to play nose tackle in the team’s 3-4 defense.
Haynesworth appeared in only eight games last season, didn’t start any and was suspended for the last four games of the year for conduct detrimental to the team.
Having earned roughly $32 million from Washington in two years, Haynesworth doesn’t have much more guaranteed money coming his way. But this offseason he has embarrassed the Redskins further, with his involvement in a road rage incident in Fairfax County, which he eventually settled out of court, and an accusation that he fondled a waitress at The W Hotel in February (Haynesworth is due in court later this month over that matter).
The Redskins had a chance to part ways with Haynesworth for a late-round round pick last offseason, but Shanahan insisted on nothing less than a second-rounder. Washington’s leverage hasn’t improved any a year later, but Shanahan’s stance, according to people with knowledge of the situation, hasn’t changed.
If the Redskins are to part ways with Haynesworth, Shanahan remains committed to doing so via trade. The coach, according to people familiar with this thinking, has long maintained that cutting Haynesworth and allowing him to sign a contract with a new team is giving the player his way. Shanahan is determined to do it his way.
It sounds as if the Redskins don’t receive an offer that management deems worthy, they again would be content to keep Haynesworth on the roster, even if it means rarely playing him, despite the past – and likely continued – friction.
The Philadelphia Eagles have been identified as a team with interest in Haynesworth. They and the Tennessee Titans, wanted him last offseason, but never were willing to meet Washington’s asking price.
Philadelphia again has been linked to Haynesworth, because the Eagles this offseason hired defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who coached Haynesworth in Nashville.
The question is, would the Redskins be willing to trade the big fella to a divisional opponent? If the price was right, probably so. What happens if teams again refuse to cough up enough to satisfy Shanahan & Co.? Can coach and player make up and give it another stab in the 3-4 defense? Or would we be looking at 16 straight “Albert Haynesworth, inactive” pre-game tweets?
It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.