There was a time when Albert Haynesworth was a wanted man. It may be hard to believe, but that time was only a little over a year ago. Haynesworth was coming off another strong season with the Titans having notched a career high 8.5 sacks, and was the crowned jewel of the free agent class. In an effort to improve a porous defensive line, Dan Snyder quickly inked Haynesworth to a monster 7 year 100 million dollar contract that guaranteed the talented defensive tackle 41 million dollars. Snyder, Haynsworth, Haynesworth's bankers, along with Redskin Nation were elated with the prospect that one stroke of the pen had upgraded the Redskin's defense substantially.
Times have changed. The 'Skins failed to meet the expectations they had set for themselves. Snyder opened the checkbook again, but this time for a new coach. Mike Shanahan has taken over the reins and is implementing a 3-4 defensive scheme. Haynesworth is reportedly unhappy about the prospects of playing in such a system, and has skipped team off-season activities in the hopes of forcing a trade.
This is where the Chicago Bears should come into play. The Bears have a need for a big, burly defensive tackle that can rush the passer. The success of the defensive scheme their coach, Lovie Smith, employs depends on being able to plug in such a player into the "3" technique in order for it to be effective. Tommie Smith was supposed to fill this role. At best, he's been average, and at his worst he's been inadequate the last two years. It's no coincidence that the Bears have tumbled in the defensive rankings over this time span.
Haynesworth is better than Harris. He's an immediate upgrade. There's a secondary benefit to bringing Haynesworth in. It will send the message to Harris that it's time for him to get it together. Injuries happen to players, and a player shouldn't be faulted for being injured, or for experiencing a loss of ability because of those injuries. Football is a violent sport and it happens. However, we've seen Harris play well one game, and horribly the next. This implies that it's not the ability that is lacking, but the effort. Haynesworth will act as a motivator to Harris. If he's not going to bring it every game, he's not going to be needed. If Harris's effort matches his ability? Then the Bears have two elite defensive tackles to add to one of the best defensive ends in the game. That is a scary defensive line that would wreak havoc on our neighbors in Green Bay, Minnesota, and Detroit.
Difference makers that play interior defensive line positions do not come available often. They are too valuable. When they do come available, they often are prohibitively expensive. Just ask Washington how expensive these types of players can be. What makes this potential acquisition into a no brainer is that Haynesworth is currently on sale. He's a blue light special. Washington has reportedly shopped him for as little as a third round draft pick. Even better, Washington has already paid most of the guaranteed money due on the contract. T he team trading for Haynesworth would be on the hook for only 16 million dollars over the next 3 years.
The Bears defense is aging. With all signs pointing to a lockout next year, how long can we expect it to hold up? The Bears have made significant upgrades at crucial positions this off-season, but they weren't enough. The addition of Haynesworth could significantly alter the Bears' chances this year. The Bears will have to decide if that improved probability of success is worth next year's third round pick. Who was our third round pick last year?