The League

Emil Steiner
Editor and Blogger

Emil Steiner

The author of NFL Crime Watch and Founding Editor of The League.

Stomping Expectations

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One hundred million dollars! I can't say that without putting a pinkie to my lips Dr. Evil-style. It's such an astronomical figure that I can't fathom, in these times, how any pro athlete might deserve that much. But in particular I can't imagine that any GM can feel safe dropping that kind of loot for a player with Albert Haynesworth's checkered past.

In 2008, the Tennessee Titans defensive tackle had 8.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and 55 combined tackles. Beyond the numbers, he caused Blagojevich-sized disruptions across opposing offensive lines to the point that the rest of the defense looked better. (You thought Jevon Kearse had an unassisted rebirth?) That's hustle, that's talent, that's what every defense needs and is willing to pay for. But was that performance indicative of what's to come?

I would say a qualified no. Haynesworth spent the last two seasons on one-year contracts. He was wooing, quite justifiably, a big payday, and now it may have arrived. The past two years of auditioning were his best. Before them he was a middle-of-the-pack tackle. Furthermore, he developed a worrisome reputation for slacking and struggling to maintain his weight. His infamous face stomp in 2006 is another red flag, as was his arrest for road rage.

But even if he has turned some corner and the past two years mean he is on an upward trend, there's no guarantee Haynesworth can continue his dominance away from Tennessee. NFL defensive schemes are complex and vary greatly from team to team. Who's to say he can be as disruptive when plugged into a different D-line with a different coordinator calling different plays?

The reward here just doesn't justify the risk. $100 million, with an estimated $30 to $40 million up front, is an insane chunk of change for any team to spend on Haynesworth, except perhaps the Titans -- for them it's borderline crazy, not stark raving mad.

By Emil Steiner  |  February 25, 2009; 11:18 AM ET  | Category:  Emil Steiner , Free Agency , Tennessee Titans , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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