Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Nov 2011

Patriots to Cut Haynesworth

After barely playing against the Giants due to, in Bill Belichick's words, "rotation related" issues, the Patriots are reportedly going to cut ties with Albert Haynesworth today. Chad Ochocinco is apparently still safe, for now.

Edit: Haynesworth was claimed by the Buccaneers, who are hurting for bodies now that Gerald McCoy is out for the season.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 08 Nov 2011

49 comments, Last at 14 Nov 2011, 7:01pm by Yaguar


by JasonK :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 4:42pm

I noticed him specifically twice in the game this week.

First, he got upfield on a pass rush and drew a holding penalty on Giants' LG Dave Diehl-- a good play. Second, Diehl cleared him right out of the hole on Jacobs' TD run-- a quite terrible play.

by DGL :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 4:48pm

"Rotation related" issues? Maybe he got turned around by the Giants OL too many times?

by VTpowderhound (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 4:55pm

The Pats failure to aggressively go after Brandon Lloyd (I know, he's hardly an exemplary human being) was an enormous mistake for the organization. Even if he didn't know the offense fluently, just having him run vertical routes would have helped significantly.

Can't believe they wouldn't offer more than what the Rams - a team who is rebuilding - offered. Why are they so in love with these mid round draft picks?

by KSR (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 5:02pm

Don't worry, they'll use the open roster spot to sign Donte Stallworth and solve all their deep threat woes.

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 6:08pm

I think Lloyd's issues may be in the past. His time in Denver went well without any real problems at all. And no doubt he can still play.

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 5:20pm

Can this and Ochocinco please help put to rest the idea that Belichick can motivate anyone to play, and that NE is some oasis where talented, but moody players go to prosper?

Belichick is not a miracle worker. He struck gold twice (Moss & Welker - not including those Vrabel types back in 2001-2004 where everything DID seem to work), but other than that, his FA and trade record is just as spotty as everyone else.

BTW, just because it is now funnier, here is Mr. Michael Lombardi's thoughts... http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8210b348/article/haynesworth-is-ex...

by Rocco :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 5:43pm

Mike Lombardi praising a risky move made by Belichick? I'm stunned. Has he written an article crediting Belichick for knowing when to cut the cord on Big Al yet?

by Kal :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 7:02pm

Welker doesn't even fit there. He was a fairly productive player in Miami before this who caused tons of issues for the Pats playing against them. Belichick saw him as someone who wasn't quite utilized as much as he could be, but the talent was definitely there.

Moss and Dillon are the real examples that work.

by Yaguar :: Mon, 11/14/2011 - 7:01pm

A second-round pick is a hefty price for a player. Welker was the most consistent receiver on the Dolphins. Miami knew he was valuable, and just underestimated how much. They should have asked for a first.

by MJK :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 7:13pm

Here's the balance as far as I see it:

Good free agent pickups (talented, but moody):

Rodney Harrison
Junior Seau

Bad pickups:

Duane Starks (shudder)

by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 7:24pm

Moss was a trade. If you include him you have to include guys like Derrick Burgess as a bad pickup. Also there is Adalius, Leigh Bodden and some guys who were decent but underwhelmed given the expectations. Oh there is also Fred Taylor Joey Galloway.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 8:29pm

Thomas and Bodden each gave the Pats one year at a high level. Bodden didn't seem to recover his form after his injury. The issues with Thomas were...more related to motivation.

Not really surprised to see Haynesworth go. People who think that this represents a failure for Belichick don't see it the way I do. I always saw this as a long shot. Haynesworth was out of shape and hadn't been productive in two seasons. There was no reason to expect him to play at his level of four years ago. It was an opportunity for him to return to his All-Pro form, and he wasn't able to pull it off.

It's not like the Pats gave him a massive contract.

I'm more irritated by the Ochocinco signing. Ochocinco did not have a good season in 2010 and didn't deserve to be paid more than Branch + Welker combined. And from Day 1 it was clear that Brady isn't terribly fond of the guy. His response to the news of the signing was tepid at best.

by tuluse :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 9:18pm

I don't really remember Seau and Harrison being considered moody.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:03pm

Dillon wasn't moody either.

I always thought he was the victim of an unfair smear campaign on the part of the Bengals' ownership. He was never a head case like Moss.

by foobarfoofoo (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 5:33am

Corey Dillon worked at first, but got in the Belichick doghouse pretty quickly, didn't he? Dunno, after he got the boot the Patriots clearly lacked a RB of his style, but he was out apparently due to the fact that he has no versatility (special teams)

It's quite simple ... all the guys who are driven and have a strong desire to be good (even though that can lead to difficult behavior) work out, all the others get in the doghouse pretty quickly, doesn't matter if skilled or not. Desire and drive can somewhat overplay lack of skill.

I sometimes think other coaches deal better with players with a big ego (Note: I don't think Moss has an overblown ego ... he is extremely driven yet very much a team player ... he just expects much from himself and others). I guess head butting with Belichick is a bad idea.

I think Moss would still be on the team, but he had a pissing match with one of the assistant coaches. Belichick protects his coaches more than his players.

by Anonymousagfgd (not verified) :: Sat, 11/12/2011 - 4:05pm

Corey Dillon never seemed to be in Belichick's doghouse. He was extremely productive up to and including the 2006 season when they drafted Maroney (and Maroney had his only good seaon). Dillon got injured and quietly retired in the offseason.
Other than that, I think your post is pretty accurate.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 9:05am

Adalius Thomas hasn't done much in NE.

by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 4:00pm

I'd add Ted Johnson, Roman Phifer, Antoine Smith, Anthony Pleasant (I think) and Tyrone Poole to your good list. There was a time when he seemed to be the only coach in the league who would happily plug a gap in his roster with an ageing veteran while the rest of the league was only looking to sign players in their prime or develop their own talent. A few more teams are willing to go along the veteran route nowadays and his cheap veteran pick ups haven't been quite as good in the more competitive marketplace.

by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 4:48pm

From 2001-2004 Belichick was brilliant at picking up some of these guys. Ted Johnson was there before BB showed up, but everyone else you are right about.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 6:27pm

PFT is suggesting Tampa pick up Haynesworth. Because, you know, signing a 30-year-old malcontent who doesn't appear to actually want to play football and is a terrible teammate is totally in line with the Bucs' youth movement.

Has anyone ever fallen so far so fast without age, injury, or jail time being involved?

by MJK :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 7:10pm


by Joe T. :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 7:27pm

Jeff George - 5 teams, 4 public Coach-QB feuds, 11 seasons. Its remarkable that George had that long of a career.

by Independent George :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 7:35pm

Whitlock seems to have immense reach within NFL front offices.

by bengt (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 6:28am

Aaron Curry?

by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 7:42am


by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 9:07am

I'm not sure Haynesworth's drop is independent of injury.

That said: TO? Raider-era Randy Moss?

by John Walt :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 7:28pm

I think the lions are an obvious landing spot. If any coach can get haynesworth to play it's schwartz. a team can't have enough defensive line depth (especially in the playoffs), and I think suh could be the next ray lewis in the that his attititude and work ethic keep his teammates in line.. vanden bosch too. And the lions would only need him for 25% of their snaps, anyway, the perfect amount for a lazy player.

by LionInAZ (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 8:11pm

No thanks. There was talk like this at the beginning of the season, and it never happened. The Lions management has never shown any interest in guys like Haynesworth, or Pacman, or Ochocinco, no matter how familiar they are to the coaches.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 8:56pm

There's a huge difference between Pacman, who's just a criminal, Haynesworth, who's a lazy ass with a bad attitude, and Ocho Cinco, who's mostly guilty of being a showboat. Mind you, I think he's past his prime, but it's not like he's anywhere near as bad of a human being as Pacman Jones.

by RichC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 10:02pm

Ocho hasn't been all that bad either. He's playing, and hes getting open, but Brady seems to keep throwing shitty underthrown balls near him. Then again, Brady seems to be doing that with everyone lately... when hes not throwing balls directly at lineman.

by tuluse :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 10:10pm

He hasn't fought for the ball at all. If there is a defender with any chance to break up the pass it looks like he just gives up.

by RichC (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 9:56am

Its tough to fight for the ball when Brady isn't getting it within 5 yards of you.

There were 5 attempts to him this weekend. Only 1 of them was catchable.

by Nathan :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:46am

I remember the corner, which looked catchable if Chad hadn't broken off his route... The post never should have been thrown at all since it wasn't there, I think they just took a deep shot even though it wasn't there because they knew they had to. There was a sideline route, which is a route that Chad's actually done pretty well with that was put a little too far out and he wasn't able to get his feet in. There was a slant which I remember the DB just making a great play on the ball, but was catchable... the last route I don't remember.

In general Brady has looked like shit the past 3 games. The older he gets the better he looks vs zones and with good protection. You hit him a couple times and cover his receivers and his entire demeanor changes, he looks like he doesn't even want to be out there and starts feeling pressure that isn't quite there. There were a number of times last week where he looked to tuck and fold in the pocket rather than taking a shot. Maybe that's just good ball security and has been coached into him but it read as not looking great under pressure. He made 1 good move away from the rush that I remember.

by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 10:50pm

The Post was most certainly there, Brady just waited too long and put too much air under it. He also waited too long in getting the ball to Ocho on the slant as well.

Brady is very skittish in the pocket lately and it is very unpleasant to watch.

by RickD :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 8:30pm

I wouldn't let Haynesworth anywhere near Suh, Fairley, and company.

by Mr. Guest to you (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:00pm

Interestingly enough, I happen to think that Suh is the next Fat Al candidate.

BTW, adding Fat Al's attitude to Detroit's line seems to be a recipe for destruction to me.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 9:09am

Suh has never not been a hard worker. There's also the mean streak that shows through at times that suggests, much in the way of that other gregarious, athletic DT Warren Sapp, that he enjoys the violence. I think the professional opportunity to pummel lesser human being into the ground will keep Suh going.

Fairley is a bit of a concern, though.

by Venger :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 7:38pm

The Eagles need to sign him right the hell now. If Jim Washburn can't turn him around, no one can; if he fails, so what, the season is over anyway; and if he succeeds, he could turn into a monster next to Cullen Jenkins.

by PatsFan :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 8:18pm

According to the Globe's Bedard, there were anti-Haynesworth rumblings from the other players:

Haynesworth needed to go, and sources said some Patriots players were grumbling about that, but coach Bill Belichick was already moving in that direction.


by RickD :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 8:52pm

Good to see the locker room knows what needs to be done.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 9:42am

The locker room also thought Vrabel shouldn't have been cut.

by justanothersteve :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 2:27pm

Vrabel wasn't cut. He was traded to the Chiefs.

by Cro-mags (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 2:30pm

Vrabel wasn't cut, he was thrown into the Cassel trade.

by MessageBoard2 :: Tue, 11/08/2011 - 11:08pm

Why is Haynesworth even playing anymore? Ever since he got the money from the Redskins his heart hasn't been in it.

by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 7:51am

Whenever I heard Haynesworth's name, for years, all I could think of was this:


Which has now been replaced by this:


I'm sure he has other highlights, but those are the two I remember.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 12:52pm

Watching the guard in that second one is funny. He looks confused as to what to do. He's on the ground and not trying to get up, do I, do I keep blocking him?

by Nathan :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:49am

To be perfectly honest I've been watching Haynesworth whenever I noticed him being on the field and thought he had looked pretty good. He wasn't putting up numbers but he was drawing double teams and collapsing the pocket.

I guess he gave up on some plays, but I must've missed them. Obviously I saw the result of one bad play on the TD after the Edelman fumble.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Wed, 11/09/2011 - 5:51pm

Welcome to Tampa, Albert.


by alaano (not verified) :: Thu, 11/10/2011 - 12:50pm

I didn't watch him with the Pats, but he was definitely unfairly targeted for his performance in Washington. Yeah, he had to come off the field some. But just compare DT-related numbers for Washington in 2008 (before Al), 2009 (Al supposedly shitty), and 2010 (Al hardly on the field). Also check team sack numbers and in particular Orakpo and Carter.

It is sad that DTs, even when dominant, don't make much noise so unless superdominant, it's easy to blame them for underperforming.

Al was underperforming, but doing so in playing well, rather than dominating as he could if he were in shape and motivated. Of course for $100m that is not great.