After two days of rampant reports that the Redskins are shopping defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, the Redskins have spoken.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who once authored a book with Redskins coach Mike Shanahan and who widely is believed to still have a direct pipeline to Shanahan, has broken his curious silence regarding the Haynesworth situation. Citing an unnamed “high-ranking Washington source,” Schefter reports that the Redskins are not “determined” to trade Haynesworth.
But Schefter’s report contains two strong clues that, in our view, represent an effort by the Redskins to get under Haynesworth’s skin, possibly in the hopes of getting Haynesworth to pay back a large chunk of the $21 million he received last week in order to facilitate a trade. Specifically, Schefter’s source says that “Haynesworth’s name has not come up in any trade discussions since March 31,” which means that on and/or before March 31, Haynesworth’s name did come up in trade discussions. Which means that the Redskins are letting the world know that, indeed, they have shopped the man who was the crown jewel of the 2009 free-agency class.
More significantly, Schefter’s source also said that Haynesworth “is, and will continue to be, the Redskins’ starting nose tackle.” Those last two words are powerful; Haynesworth has made it clear that he has no desire to play “nose tackle” in the new 3-4 defense that the Redskins are installing. Characterizing Haynesworth as a “nose tackle” surely is aimed at reminding Haynesworth that, if he stays, he’ll be expected to do something he doesn’t want to do.
Schefter’s version comes at a time when three other NFL writers — Jason Reid of the Washington Post, Jason La Canfora of NFL Network, and John Clayton of ESPN — have reported unequivocally that Haynesworth remains available. Our guess is that Shanahan is using his relationship with Schefter as a way to apply the brakes to what quickly was becoming inevitable, and in turn to squeeze Haynesworth into coughing up some of that large pile of cash he received last week, if he wants to avoid playing “nose tackle” in the Redskins’ 3-4 defense.
Finally, we’re compelled to point out once again a clear conflict between two ESPN reporters. It’s quickly becoming a trend, and the editors need to do a better job of harmonizing these reports — or of acknowledging that one of the two reporters necessarily is wrong.
In this case, someone definitely is. Said Clayton on April 5: “What is clear is that the Redskins are willing to part with Haynesworth,
according to multiple sources.”
Bottom line? We think that Reid, La Canfora, and Clayton are right — and that Schefter’s report in a roundabout way confirms that fact.