The Washington Redskins have a problem. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth wants out. But he knows that, in order to keep his $26 million in bonus money, he needs to show up for training camp and for every game.
So he’ll be there, but he won’t he happy. And he possibly will behave that way in the hopes of being traded or cut.
The Redskins have to make a choice. Do they dump him now in the hopes of avoiding a major distraction to the first year of the Mike Shanahan regime, or do they hold Haynesworth’s lead feet to the fire in the hopes of teaching all current and future players that they won’t be able to talk their way out of town?
Getting rid of him helps the team’s short-term interests, while at the same time creating a possible blueprint for other unhappy players. Making an example out of Haynesworth advances the long-term interests, while likely undermining the “win now” vibe that has arisen from the decisions to acquire veterans like Donovan McNabb, Larry Johnson, and most recently Jammal Brown.
If the team forces Haynesworth to show up for training camp, he could behave in a manner similar to a certain wide receiver who disrupted significantly the Eagles’ 2005 season. And, in the end, what did they gain by forcing Terrell Owens to continue to show up when he wanted out?
Coincidentally, the quarterback who endured the T.O. saga now faces another similar mess, with A.H. (a fitting set of initials, observes M.F.) poised to behave in similar fashion. So we suspect that Donovan McNabb to make known quickly and clearly, but hopefully discreetly, his desire to avoid another situation of that nature, lobbying for the team to get rid of Haynesworth before he can screw up the interests of a team that has a chance to compete right away in the relatively wide-open NFC East.