The New England Patriots announced today that they have cut ties with DT Albert Haynesworth. Recall that the Patriots traded a 5th-round draft pick to the Washington Redskins for Haynesworth and he cost them “only” $1.5 million in base salary. While the trade for Haynesworth was a low-risk, high-reward move, the Patriots got virtually no reward from him.
So, what happened?
Haynesworth played in six out of eight games with the Patriots, missing two due to a back injury. He was a rotational player when he suited up and never approached becoming a starting defensive tackle next to Vince Wilfork in the 4-3 defense. The two, had Haynesworth regained some of his old form, could have been the best 1-2 punch at DT in the NFL.
In terms of impact when Haynesworth was on the field, it was minimal. According to NFL.com’s player profile page, Albert Haynesworth totaled only 3 tackles. He also drew 3 holding penalties, which have to be considered. He was on the field during Giants RB Brandon Jacobs’ 10-yard touchdown run Sunday and was dominated by G David Diehl. He was spotted on the sidelines having a heated discussion with defensive line coach Pepper Johnson after the play and didn’t see the field again.
Bill Belichick said yesterday that Haynesworth’s lack of playing time after that play was “rotation related,” and not due to performance. Hayesworth’s release would suggest otherwise. Does anybody want to bet against me that Belichick will say tomorrow that personnel moves are made by “doing what’s best for the team,” and not adding another word to it in reference to Albert Haynesworth?
In other moves, the Pats released TE Dan Gronkowski for the second time this season and signed WR Tiquan Underwood. Underwood was with the team late in the preseason and his tremendous flat top could be spotted when he had his helmet off. The move was made likely with special teams in mind, as Underwood is a good kick returner. The Pats also released OL Thomas Welch from the practice squad.