Albert Haynesworth to Seattle: A Different, Hesitant Perspective


Albert Haynesworth is a selfish player; he wants to make plays on the football field.

Haynesworth doesn’t want to take on opposing blockers so someone else can claim the glory; he wants to be the playmaker and focal point of the defensive line.

Unfortunately for Haynesworth, the Washington Redskins are asking him to play nose tackle in their 3-4 defense. The zero-technique nose tackle is responsible for multiple gaps and simultaneously taking on at least two offensive players. In other words, the nose tackle does the dirty work so other players can make plays.

Haynesworth, who typically plays the right defensive tackle position, is used to playing in an aggressive, one-gap scheme. He has spent most of his career lined up as a three-technique tackle, allowing him to quickly and aggressively attack his gap and make plays.

The Redskins want him to play nose tackle, but Haynesworth would prefer playing for a team that employs a different scheme.

Thanks to a rumor started by Len Pasquarelli, the Seattle Seahawks could be the new team willing to feature Haynesworth in a more agreeable scheme. Haynesworth is likely to be traded and the former All-Pro could be had for close to nothing.

But do the Seahawks really need to acquire a player who could potentially develop into a headache?

Haynesworth’s dominance on the field earned him a seven-year, $100 million contract from Washington. You would almost expect such a high-paid athlete – Haynesworth, or any other player making millions – to be willing to line up anywhere on the field, regardless of the situation or potential outcome.

Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was critical of Haynesworth via Twitter a few days ago, and probably said what a lot of people were already thinking:

"Did I just hear this correctly ‘Albert Haynesworth’ will not be [at] mandatory minicamp? And he wants a trade, after signing 100 million dollar contract?”That’s why I tell yall I’m nothing like these dudes, for a 100 million my ass will play 4-4, 3-4, 5-9, 4-8, and still whip ass!"

If Haynesworth can revert back to All-Pro form, it could be worth it to let him play whatever role he wants on the defensive line. Disruptive and dominant are good ways to describe a happy and healthy Albert Haynesworth – you would be hard-pressed to find someone on Seattle’s defensive line who matches the same description.

Haynesworth would immediately upgrade Seattle’s pass rush. As a three-technique defensive tackle in Seattle’s defense, rather than occupying blockers as the nose tackle in a three-man front, Haynesworth would be able to penetrate, slant, and attack. Such a disruptive force in the trenches would attract additional attention and also allow opportunities for other defensive linemen.

But despite the upside of acquiring Haynesworth, is it really worth the risk? Even if Haynesworth is no longer disgruntled, he could still prove to be a headache with a new team.

Haynesworth spent the first five seasons of his NFL career operating as an overweight underachiever, and his stomping on the head of Andre Gurode was so shocking some people still question his character. Despite being a dominant force when healthy, Haynesworth is somewhat prone to injury and has never played a full campaign during his eight seasons in the NFL. And at 29 years old, it could be argued that Haynesworth’s best days are now behind him.

If the Seattle Seahawks can acquire Albert Haynesworth, the dominant, disruptive defensive tackle who regularly commands double- and triple-teams, then I’m definitely a proponent of any deal.

But if the Albert Haynesworth they’re going to acquire is injury-prone, disgruntled, and lazy, then I would prefer the Seahawks don’t even pick up when the Redskins call.

Shaun Dolence:
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