Here we go again. The always unhappy Albert Haynesworth(notes), apparently feeling betrayed because the Washington Redskins had the nerve to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense in the offseason, has now decided that he will not attend the team's mandatory minicamp that begins Wednesday.
On top of that, he is now demanding a trade through his agent — after accepting a $21 million guaranteed option bonus from the Redskins in April. Chad Speck, Haynesworth's agent, gave Jason Reid of the Washington Post the scoop on his client:
"The Redskins are trying to establish a new regime with new schemes at Redskins Park, and it is not an organization that Albert would have ever been attracted to just a short year ago - regardless of the money," Speck said in a phone interview. "He has made it clear to me that he does not want to play for the Washington Redskins.
"This situation will be a distraction to the Redskins and to Albert and his teammates. I am certain [head coach] Mike [Shanahan] and [General Manager] Bruce [Allen] want to get the most out of their first year and it's probably in everyone's best interests for the Redskins to make a deal and trade Albert."
As Reid detailed, Haynesworth has missed all but one day of Shanahan's voluntary offseason activities, and word is that Shanahan is just as unhappy about Haynesworth at this point. Because the Haynesworth deal (a stunningly ill-advised seven-year, $100 million contract) happened before Shanahan and Allen came on board, and team has already given Haynesworth most of his guaranteed money, the new regime can legitimately go to owner Dan Snyder, claim sunk cost, get the best trade possible and move along. Because clearly, Haynesworth's insistence on missing mandatory team activities after claiming that he would show up for what was required puts the team at a disadvantage.
They can fine him up the wazoo, but all that does is take a minicamp-to-training-camp journey and crowbar it with a giant nonstop distraction. Previous Redskins seasons have been destroyed by off-field garbage and bad free-agent deals, and part of the reason Snyder brought Shanahan and Allen in after the mistake-ridden Vinny Cerrato era was to establish a new sense of order and accountability.
The upshot of this whole drama is that Haynesworth really can be effective in a 3-4 front — I've detailed this myself — and it's my understanding that new defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has planned to use Haynesworth at more than just the nose-tackle position he doesn't want to play. And with half the league running some manner of 3-4 front these days, the chances of Haynesworth landing somewhere the dreaded scheme isn't present are not great. In the end, this is about organizational control and who has it. And that's why the Redskins need to rid themselves of Albert Haynesworth as soon as they possibly can.
Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett(notes) — who plays in multiple fronts, is twice the player Haynesworth is these days and has his own contract issues — put the entire matter in perspective. From his highly recommended Twitter feed:
That's why I tell yall I'm nothing like these dudes, for a 100millon my ass will play 4-3, 3-4 5-9, 4-8, and still whip ass! #PAYME
Yeah, that about sums it up, Darnell. For $100 million, most of us would adjust.