Three years ago, he was the best defensive player in the game.
Two years ago, he was paid like it.
A year ago, he was the biggest headache in the league.Today, he is a New England Patriot.
The Washington Redskins rid themselves of perhaps the worst free agent signing in league history by flipping the disgruntled Albert Hayneswsorth to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick in 2013.
In 2009, the Redskins signed Big Al to a record seven-year, $100-million contract, including $41 million guaranteed.
This year, the Patriots are on the hook for only $5 million, according to Adam Schefter.
While Haynesworth didn’t nearly live up to his contract (he recorded only 6.5 sacks in 20 games), the mammoth defensive tackle is not short on talent.
Prior to taking his services to Washington, he earned Sporting News Defensive Player of the Year Honors after recording a career-high 8.5 sacks for a 13-3 Titans team.
In New England, Haynesworth will fill the role of Richard Seymour as the right defensive end in the base 3-4 defense.
Much like Seymour, Haynesworth is a tall, powerful defender who commands constant double teams.
On nickel situations, the 6-foot-6, 335-pounder should slide to the three-technique and could be a matchup nightmare…provided he is motivated.
Because Washington paid most of his bonus money already, the Patriots can rid themselves of Haynesworth if he becomes a problem, but his addition could make for a tremendous front three with Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren.
Scout’s Inc. Matt Williamson also tweeted the addition of Haynesworth could signal some 4-3 alignments with Wilfork playing the one-technique, Jerod Mayo at weakside linebacker, Spikes in the middle and Cunningham at strongside linebacker or weakside end.
This flexibility and talent upgrade proves Bill Belichick is still one of the shrewdest talent collectors in the game, and the Patriots defense has the potential to be great this year.
Provided Big Al buys into the Patriot Way.