The Redskins zero in on Haynesworth

February, 26, 2009
2/26/09
2:21
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

The Washington Redskins have spent the past week releasing players and restructuring contracts in an effort to make a splash in free agency Friday. The Washington Post is reporting that the Redskins have "laid the groundwork" to go after Titans unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

Of course, it would be tampering if the Redskins are already visiting with Haynesworth's agent. But that never happens in free agency. The fact that Dan Snyder was having dinner with Haynesworth's agent in Indianapolis -- as reported by Peter King -- must've been purely coincidental.

We should credit a Houston sports radio host (Lance Zeirlein) for being the first to report that the Redskins were making a strong push to sign Haynesworth. As the Post points out, it's still hard to imagine Washington finding enough cap room to land Haynesworth, but Snyder's been known to get pretty creative. (His Shockwave roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas is still a crowd-pleaser.)

And this is the type of splashy move that will bring back memories of Deion Sanders (sorry!) and Bruce Smith. But to be fair, Haynesworth's in the prime of his career. I know he's had some injury (and stomping) issues, but he's the most dominating defensive tackle in the game. There's a chance he could command more than $30 million in guaranteed money.

My biggest worry would be Haynesworth becoming satisfied with all that cash and becoming lazy. He's basically been in a "contract year" for the past two seasons. I don't think there's any guarantee that this guy continues to get better. Part of the reason he was so effective was the Titans' defensive scheme and the fact that he was surrounded by talented defensive ends. And you have to give former defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz a ton of credit for what he accomplished.

It appears that Plan B for the Redskins will be Cowboys defensive end Chris Canty. The former Virginia standout would be a nice addition, but he's not a game-changing force like Haynesworth. Of course, you could certainly save a lot of money with Canty. It would also give you a lot better chance of keeping DeAngelo Hall, who will be looking for a $15 million in guaranteed money.

Much, much more to come. Stay tuned for more breaking free agency news.

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