Previous tank jobs make Haynesworth too risky


Think the Raiders could swoop in and add Albert Haynesworth at some point before the start of the 2010 season?

It’s not an absurd notion.

Haynesworth has already drawn public criticism from owner Daniel Snyder and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett by not showing up for any voluntary workouts, and the Raiders have already established they can work with coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen by virtue of their trade for quarterback Jason Campbell.

The Redskins are committing to the 3-4 defense, and Haynesworth isn’t interested in being a nose tackle.

What about Shanahan’s “Haynesworth will not be traded” declaration? That’s what you say right up to the moment Haynesworth is sent packing, because no one is going to offer as much for a player on the verge of being dumped.

Oakland is thin at nose tackle, unless you’re of the opinion that the Ryan Boschetti signing has alleviated all issues on the interior line.

Washington has already done much of the heavy lifting on Haynesworth’s contract, paying $32 million of the $41 million in guaranteed money.

The problem is that Al Davis has got to be extremely sensitive about bringing in star quality players earning big money who go in the tank, underachieve, and instead manage to keep his wounded franchise deep in a seven-year abyss.

Three cases to consider: wide receiver Randy Moss, cornerback DeAngelo Hall and most recently, quarterback JaMarcus Russell.

All were greeted with considerable fanfare. Moss came with a police escort, Hall was to join Nnamdi Asomugha in a cornerback tandem to rival Lester Hayes-Mike Haynes, and Russell, Davis promised, would be great.

Moss came out of the gate quickly, his performance falling off under Norv Turner after being injured, and then became thoroughly disillusioned and disinterested with the Art Shell-Tom Walsh offense. Moss dropped passes, gave a half-hearted effort and basically withheld his services until he was traded.

Hall played as if he were in a trance for eight games until the Raiders cut their losses _ cutting him after eight games rather than be on the hook for more than the $8 million he’d already been paid.

We all know how Russell turned out.

In each case, it was a character flaw _ something which prevented the player from living up to his obligations as a professional and giving his best effort.

It’s something the Raiders have avoided with big money outlays since Russell was drafted No. 1 overall in 2007.

Whatever their struggles, top draft picks Darren McFadden in 2008 and Darrius Heyward-Bey in 2009 haven’t had reputations as being slackers. Rolando McClain was the top pick this year in part because of his qualities as a leader and a worker. Defensive lineman Richard Seymour, acquired on the eve of the 2009 season, was a decorated pro in New England.

Which brings us to Haynesworth, who put forth his best season during a salary drive year and promptly showed up to Washington out of shape and not nearly as productive. He responded to receiving a $21 million option bonus in April by missing all voluntary sessions, making his displeasure known with the new defensive system and being named in a paternity suit by a pregnant exotic dancer.

Haynesworth has missed games due to injury in each of the last seven years, playing 16 games in his rookie year of 2002 when he started only three times.

If Davis has learned anything from the Moss, Hall and Russell experiences, he won’t make a move on Haynesworth.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer