Albert Haynesworth, here stopping Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, has been named All-Pro twice in his career. (Getty Images)
A big ol' possibility is sitting out there, waiting to be gobbled up by someone. His name is Albert Haynesworth, and he's rapidly becoming the NFL's newest, ugliest symbol of pouting self-absorption.
If the Lions are even thinking about pursuing Haynesworth, they should breathe deeply and let the crazy notion pass. No way should they go after this guy. They might be tempted because Jim Schwartz knows Haynesworth well, but they should not be duped.
Rumors were swirling all weekend the Redskins would trade the mammoth defensive tackle to the Saints, but they instead sent a draft pick for offensive tackle Jammal Brown. Someone will bite eventually, probably, and give up a pick or two for Haynesworth, but I wouldn't.
Sure, he's among the highest-paid defensive players in league history for a reason. He's also available for a more-important reason, because he's selfish and de-motivated. He blew off the Redskins' mandatory mini-camp last week because he doesn't want to play in new coach Mike Shanahan's 3-4 defense, and now the team might try to recoup some of the $21 million bonus it just paid him.
Hey, the Redskins and ego-bloated owner Daniel Snyder were ridiculous for giving Haynesworth a $100 million contract last year. And it's not the brightest move to switch to a scheme that would force him to play nose tackle, a position he supposedly disdains.
But if you think the 6-foot-6, 350-pound Haynesworth suddenly would become hungry (figuratively) and dominant again in the Lions' 4-3 defense, in a major rebuilding situation, you're kidding yourself. I don't think the Lions are easily fooled these days under GM Martin Mayhew and Schwartz, which is why they've generally refrained from showing avid interest in Haynesworth, who's demanding a trade.
A bad fit, regardless of price
Some in the NFL still think Detroit is a logical landing place for Haynesworth, along with Tennessee or Minnesota. Schwartz was his defensive coordinator at Tennessee, where Lions newcomer Kyle Vanden Bosch played alongside Haynesworth and probably wouldn't mind being reunited with his havoc-wreaking linemate.
And the Lions still need help, tons of it, even with top pick Ndamukong Suh ready to anchor their defensive line. But do you really think they want their prized pick influenced by an out-of-shape malcontent?
Another Schwartz guy in Tennessee, linebacker Keith Bulluck, is available, but he's 33 and doesn't sound interested in coming here. The Lions should know by now there are no quick fixes, and stopgaps often don't work.
The longer the Haynesworth spat in Washington continues, the cheaper the price might get, and the Redskins might even end up cutting him. I still don't buy it, not for the Lions.
The NFL is the one league where a team is most likely to get burned paying for bigger, older names. The Lions already took their gambles this off-season by signing Vanden Bosch and receiver Nate Burleson, and trading for defensive tackle Corey Williams.
Haynesworth is 29 and coming off a season in which he recorded only four sacks and was more lazy than lousy. When he didn't report for a two-day camp last week, Redskins teammates blasted him for his selfishness.
He's not likely to change
Haynesworth was occasionally tremendous in seven seasons with the Titans, but the truth is, only twice has he collected as many as six sacks. And nobody is defending his latest stunt, in which he took the Redskins' $21 million payment, perhaps under the guise he would play in Shanahan's system, then refused to participate.
The Redskins can only fine him about $10,000. I doubt they'd release him or trade him without getting some of the millions back. It's a mess, and not even the NFL Players Association president is backing Haynesworth.
"You talk about someone putting a mask on and going in backwards to get his paycheck," said Kevin Mawae, who played with Haynesworth in Tennessee. "I mean, if you don't want to be there, don't take the $21 million contract. How things turned out, it's no surprise to guys that have played with him in Tennessee."
Very rarely does one NFL player change a team, and very rarely does a team change a player. The Lions are not in position to rehabilitate wayward talents. There's a chance Haynesworth still can be a force, but the Lions aren't looking for one piece to turn a corner. Haynesworth isn't worth the risk or the trouble, no matter the price.
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