Reports have surfaced that the Redskins could release DT Albert Haynesworth, whose lack of effort has been a huge drain on a team desperately trying to rebuild but having little immediate success doing so. The latest saga saw Haynesworth missing practice last week because of an illness and subsequently being late for a meeting on Friday, which led to the Redskins deactivating him for Sunday's blowout loss to the Giants.
Releasing him makes little sense because it would cost the Redskins money, for which they would receive nothing in return, and it would give Haynesworth exactly what he wants: his freedom. Despite attempts to ameliorate the situation, though, the Redskins clearly know this relationship cannot go on.
The PFW Spin
Redskins players, stung by the whipping they took in Week 13, clearly were not happy that their highest-paid teammate would not fight enough through a common cold (or whatever it was Haynesworth was said to have) to play Sunday. Phillip Daniels, 37, almost never misses a game, has never won anything in his career, and yet still managed to play Sunday despite being sick. Considering they sometimes play next to each other on the field, it has made Haynesworth look none the wiser, not to mention selfish, disinterested and disconnected from reality.
This goes back to last season when several veterans were shocked at how Haynesworth would not play through minor injuries that they believed were the kinds of things that professionals worked through. On a roster and a defense full of proud veterans such as Daniels and London Fletcher, this stuff is a major sin. They know when a player is not giving his all, and those players don't even miss practice in the first place.
Our sources have said that head coach Mike Shanahan, despite not getting off to a good start with Haynesworth, was not about to unload a talented player for peanuts, believing he perhaps could get something out of Haynesworth. Shanahan attempted the tough-love approach, which only worked temporarily, and now that the team's players have turned on Haynesworth, the coach is in a situation where it's almost a no-win.
Haynesworth appears confused as to why he is being treated a certain way. He spouted off after the game, unsure why he was made inactive for what he said was, in essence, being sick and being a minute late to Friday practice. There were reports that he got into a fight with defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, which shows he cares some small amount, but it's not likely to have much impact on the situation if the reports are true.
So what now? The Redskins certainly could cut Haynesworth, as the reports are suggesting, and it would shock no one. (Except Haynesworth maybe? Even he couldn't feign surprise at that move.) But it makes far more sense and falls much more in line with Shanahan's history to keep Haynesworth, make him suffer — with his millions in salary, of course — and then trade him, even for peanuts, in the offseason. If it's to a team Haynesworth wouldn't want to play for, all the better. But the Redskins would be wise to take any halfway decent offer then and get whatever they can for perhaps their worst free-agent signing, and maybe the NFL's worst-ever signing.
Personality-wise, Shanahan is similar to Bill Belichick in that he is never going to let a player hold his team hostage. Shanahan has an owner with deep pockets who already has shelled out a fortune to the player, so why not eat four more game checks, hang on to the player a few more months, let the CBA mess work itself out and then wash their hands of this mess? It makes little sense to overreact now and release Haynesworth, further worsening the team's situation. For a club that has mismanaged and undervalued the draft as badly as the Redskins, even fifth-round picks hold tangible currency.