Albert Haynesworth's tumultuous tenure in D.C. is over.
No, it's not exactly a haul they're getting in return. Not exactly the second coming of the Herschel Walker trade. And truth be told, I expected that Haynesworth might have more value than that, given it wasn't long ago that he was one of the more dominant players in the league. But Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, whose very public disputes with Haynesworth were a focal point of Shanahan's first season in Washington, clearly didn't want the guy around anymore. And as we've been saying here for weeks, he didn't want to just release him and let him go anywhere he wanted -- Philadelphia, for instance, where he could have reunited with his former defensive line coach from Tennessee and terrorized the Redskins twice a year in head-to-head matchups.
Can Haynesworth help the Patriots? Yes, I believe he can. They run a 3-4 defense, which was supposedly his problem in Washington. But Bill Belichick has a history of getting something out of malcontent players who wash out elsewhere. Randy Moss springs to mind, and all those records he set with Tom Brady in 2007. The Patriots will try to do a better job of selling Haynesworth on their defense and his potential role in it than Shanahan and Jim Haslett got a chance to in Washington.
For the Redskins, this is clearly about getting rid of a headache. A fifth-rounder in 2013 is pretty close to nothing in return for a guy they signed for $100 million (and who has already cashed almost all of that). But they'll save $5.4 million this year by releasing him and they won't have to answer any more questions about what he's doing in their locker room when all he does is bellyache and never play. Barry Cofield will be brought in as the much happier replacement, and the Redskins will move on with their rebuilding project. Shanahan and Haynesworth were a bad match from the start, and the ill-fated Haynesworth era in Washington is now over after two eventful but largely unproductive years.