It’s not that the Patriots couldn’t afford to keep Ty Warren around. The veteran defensive lineman was among the seven players released today by New England, and his name was the only surprise. He was due to make $3.1 million this year, which is a reasonable number for a lineman with 46 tackles last year who has shown an ability to rush the quarterback effectively in the past (7.5 sacks in 2006-07).
What we saw earlier today on the Patriots’ front line is a product of Warren becoming expendable after the acquisition of Albert Haynesworth. And the move wasn’t a reflection of a belief that Haynesworth will be more efficient either. Instead, it was made out of a desire to pursue the low-risk option that can be quickly axed if his attitude doesn’t gel with those marching in line with Bill Belichick’s patriot games.
Warren missed all of last season with a hip injury. Although he’s recovered now and been cleared for practice, he still failed his training camp physical yesterday. Combined with his 30th birthday next February, Warren’s status as an injury liability made it much easier for Belichick to move on.
Warren’s relationship with Belichick soured last year when he skipped offseason workouts and his hip ailment flared up days into training camp, eventually resulting in surgery and a season-long absence. Belichick has been known to make quick, rash decisions (see: Moss, Randy) and his ire towards Warren perhaps reached its tipping point when he reportedly pulled his hamstring during yesterday’s conditioning run.
Earlier that morning the trigger had already been pulled on the deal to acquire Haynesworth. In an odd paradox, Belichick likes his malcontent projects, but has little tolerance for their defiance. That equation may have contributed to Warren leaving New England, and Haynesworth arriving.
Haynesworth isn’t any less of an injury liability than Warren. His severely brittle build is well documented, and in a nine-year career Haynesworth’s only full, 16-game season was his rookie year. But Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork can rotate to keep the oft-injured veteran upright, with Haynesworth coming in on passing downs, or possibly being asked to be a 3/4 end.
Either way, the Jedi Belichick will put Haynesworth in a position to succeed. Less is more if the Patriots want to see the upside of their low-risk signing come to fruition.