Four years ago, the New York Giants threw their names into the bidding for one of the biggest free agents on the open market and tried to sign one of the league's biggest troublemakers in recent time when they tried to land Albert Haynesworth.
It's been two years since he played a snap in the NFL after becoming a bust in the league following his seven-year, $100 million deal that he signed with the Washington Redskins in 2009 and only lasted two seasons with the team before being traded to the New England Patriots and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after they waived him in the middle of the season.
It's been well documented that during that winter, the New York Giants not only were very interested in adding Haynesworth to their defense, but put in an offer as well to what was at the time, one of the top defensive tackles in the league several years ago. The offer to Haynesworth was reportedly worth as much as $80 million, and there was one even from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers which was also worth over $100 million, but in the end, he decided to go with Washington, which is where all the trouble began.
Haynesworth didn't get along with teammates and the coaching staff; Mike Shanahan and Greg Blache in particular to the point where he said he wouldn't survive playing in Washington's defensive system and at times, looked like he wasn't even trying on the field, which eventually lead to his benching and then trade out of town to the Patriots. While that happened in Washington, the Giants decided to sign defensive tackles Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard and linebacker Michael Boley instead with the money that would have been designated for Haynesworth; all three of those players were key parts to the defense that ended up winning Super Bowl XLVI.
On Tuesday, the entire football community got a first-hand taste of just how bad of a player and teammate Haynesworth really was with the Redskins, as longtime Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, along with Steve Czaban and Al Galdi of ESPN Radio all discussed the Haynesworth contract and explained why he was not only a bad teammate, but "an awful human being."
“No question, the Haynesworth contract,” Cooley said. “Because he was trying to get released by the team. His goal was to come here, make a large signing bonus, and then get released and not have to do any of the work. He didn’t care about the back end of that contract, he didn’t care about making all of that money. His idea was, you paid me for what I did in the past, and my goal is to be released as soon as possible and basically take $33 million from you for absolutely nothing."
Cooley then went on further to elaborate on how Haynesworth had told teammates that he was basically trying to rip off the Redskins of the millions of dollars that they were paying him to be a top player on their defense, but instead, be a malcontent.
“His goal from the get-go was to take that money. He also indicated to many players on the team that his new goal was to get released as soon as possible, sign another maybe $10, 12 million contract — that’s verbatim — go somewhere, play for a year and probably get released, and keep that money too. I mean, if it was a player on this team currently, I would not discuss this on the air. But being the player that he was, and the guy that he was around here, this was open [knowledge] among many players in this locker room: that his goal was basically to take money. And it’s really unfortunate when that happens. I guess his point to it, or his excuse for it, was well, the leagues steal from all you guys, the leagues won’t pay you your salaries, they won’t give you your money, so I’m gonna get what’s right from them.”
So here's a what if that might scare fans to their very core; what if Haynesworth had decided to sign with the Giants that winter instead of going with the Redskins? What if he took up the Giants on their $80 million offer for five or six years and had tried to pull the same stunts here in New York with Tom Coughlin and either Bill Sheridan or Perry Fewell that he did with Shanahan and Blache? Because with the way Cooley put it, he was basically intentionally playing bad and being a problem to the point where he was forcing the team to get rid of him; which Washington did. He got $33 million to be a disruptive roster spot, and he could have been the Giants disruptive roster spot if he had taken their deal four years ago.
But apparently, Haynesworth's failure's in Washington and then in New England and Tampa Bay still weren't enough to keep them away, because as Dan Benton from Giants 101 pointed out last year before the 2012 NFL Draft, the Giants had given serious consideration to signing Haynesworth as defensive tackle depth before deciding to sign Shaun Rogers.instead.
If the Giants had decided to sign Haynesworth for what would have likely been a one-year, veterans minimum deal in 2012, Cooley's insight on how the former defensive tackle was playing for the guaranteed money and didn't care what he had to do to make sure he got it gives a lot of people in football a clear image of just how low Haynesworth would sink to earn a paycheck and not have to work for it.
Thankfully, the Giants saw the positives in Rogers, who is still with the team and contributing to their defensive tackle rotation, while Haynesworth remains out of football for two years now and is having his already tarnished image be smeared publicly by a former teammate who just doesn't seem to care about hiding what Haynesworth did in Washington.
It's pretty clear that the Giants avoided a tremendous headache and colossal mistake not only once, but twice in not signing Haynesworth and will never know of the poisonous effect he could have done to the Giants locker room and team if he were signed.
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