Akh Blog: Cerrato’s stimulus package
Albert Haynesworth, more than any previous NFL free agent since Reggie White, embodies the essential problem with the NFL having a free agency system: since production by any area of the team in the NFL is dependant on more than one person, how much any individual free agent can contribute on a different team will be a total mystery until the player in question gets on the field. Teams can try to find matches in systems or skill sets, but at the end of the day, you’ll never really know. So, when you go after and eventually sign a free agent, it’s impossible to truly know how much his impact will actually be, and you have to pursue players on a concept of acceptable risk. 7 years for 100 million—41 of it guaranteed is not an acceptable risk play for Albert Haynesworth for the reason that it is totally uncertain which Albert Haynesworth the Skins would be getting: the 06-07 dominator or the lazy 01-05 one. There’s an equally logical case to be made on which one the skins would be getting, so potentially burdening the skins’ cap with 100 million(41% of it guaranteed) would be a fool’s errand.
However, that’s not his real contract. Haynesworth is effectively getting a heavily frontloaded deal for 4 years for 48 million dollars(32 million in the first 2 years premised on there being no cap next year). He has a 29 million dollar poison pill bonus in year 5(nearly 40% of Haynesworth’s deal is paid out in the 5th year btw), which the skins will never really pay. He’ll be 32 years old then, and unless he’s still a dominating force on the Dline, they’ll dump him(or give him a new deal). On these terms, 4/48, it’s hard to oppose this deal at all. If Haynesworth is a bust, and we end up with the lazy Fat Albert who just took up space for the Titans, then we’ll be rid of him before too long(and eat the cap hit during the uncapped year). If he’s the destructive force he was over the last 2 years, the skins got a major steal in free agency. This also represents a major shift in free agency strategy for the skins: instead of paying B list free agents heavily guaranteed deals for more than what they’re probably worth, this is the skins going to the top of the free agent list to try and roll the dice on dramatic improvement. And if Haynesworth succeeds as a player in DC, Vinny will look smart…ish. If he fails, Vinny looks like a total buffoon…more than he already does.
Just a note of caution to everyone who’s already starting to set benchmarks in their mind about what Haynesworth will bring to this team: please stop. Haynesworth’s contributions to the defense, assuming he’s a great player, won’t be particularly tangible. He’s never going to be a 10 sack a year guy. If you want to count a statistic involving him, count how many blockers opposing offenses commit to stopping him. That will be his true impact on the defense: freeing up everyone else in the front 7 to make plays, and I’ve never seen opposing offenses commit 4 blockers to stopping a DT like they did with Haynesworth last year.
All in all, this is still a risky acquisition, but at a good price. B/B+, just for the price, but could end up being anything from a stroke of genius to abject failure.
As for the other three major moves by the Skins to open free agency:
Re-signing DeAngelo Hall: Another risky move. Hall could be the Hall who looked happy in DC, and that would make giving him such a big deal a good move, since it locks him up in that main CB spot for years. If he struggles, then the skins will have to eat a massive cap hit to rid themselves of him. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean Rogers’ days are numbered. Grade: C+/B- on sheer risk.
Signing Derrick Dockery: Dockery still is what we saw him be in DC. He’s a decent, but nothing-special LG who knows the scheme and personnel here. He didn’t get a whole lot of cash from the Skins, and his contract is easily dumped if we find a better option. Grade: A-
Dumping Shawn Springs: Once upon a time, Springs was a great player for the skins who gave his all every week. In the last couple seasons, Springs had turned into a player who milked minor injuries to take time off and was a liability on a regular basis. Good riddance. Grade: A+
What is left to be done:
The skins still need the following(ideas for acquisitions):
A talent at RT(Zach Streif-Trade, Marc Tauscher-FA, Michael Oher-Draft)
Strong Side LB(Derrick Johnson-Trade, Derrick Brooks[moving Rocky over to SAM]-FA, Brian Cushing-Draft)
Cb Depth(I think this is only a place for a cheap vet cb)