Remember this day, for it is a day we’ve all been imagining for quite some time. It is the afternoon of Wednesday, February 15th in the year 2012, and this is maybe, hopefully, probably the last day we’ll have to associate Albert Haynesworth with the NFL.
Haynesworth has been released by Tampa Bay, with Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik officially announcing the move in a press release. This ends another brief time of meaningful NFL employment for a troubled, lazy, petulant, and now generally useless defensive tackle who’s spent a career first showing promise with incredible power and skill, and then breaking those promises with poor conditioning, and an even worse attitude.
While another Haynesworth experiment–his second failed experiment this season after also being cut by New England–is officially over, this announcement feels like a mere formality due to developments on two fronts.
Firstly, there’s new head coach Greg Schiano, who has plenty of experience, but none of it has come at the professional level. Schiano’s 10 years at Rutgers exposed him to a different brand of immaturity, but that’s expected at the college level. As he’s preparing to enter his first NFL offseason with mini camps, the Scouting Combine, the draft, and eventually training camp, there’s no reason to saddle Schiano’s mind with a more advanced form of petulance.
Then there’s the simple finances, with Haynesworth set to make a base salary of $6.7 million next year, which is far too much for a defensive tackle who has just seven sacks over the past three years after registering 8.5 in 2008.
Haynesworth is now 30, meaning he’s successfully wasted some of his prime years by whining his way out of Washington, and then vastly under performing in New England, where he was on the field for only 133 of the 561 snaps during his six games. His production and participation was better in Tampa Bay, where he was asked to be an injury fill-in and had 25 tackles.
But there’s still little room for a vastly overpriced and unproductive veteran on a young, rebuilding team, even if Haynesworth was well behaved by his standards.
A team with a weakness up front may take a low-risk and low-priced gamble on Haynesworth, just like New England did last August. But for now we just hope he finds a nice, comfy spot to lay down.