Bad NFL Contracts: Albert Haynesworth

Editor’s note: This is a part of an on going series in which we take a monthly look at some of the worst contracts in NFL history.  What we found most interesting, while researching these horrible contracts is that these contracts are often handed out because of circumstance.  A lot of teams gave their star players being contracts after big seasons. However, a lot of these players would go on to get hurt or just fall off for various other reasons. 

Albert Haynesworth: 7 Years, $100 million / Washington Redskins

There should be a case study about Albert Haynesworth’s horrific contract. 100 million over seven years is a huge amount of money to commit to a player who has had some issues with the league and teammates in the past, no matter what the guaranteed money is. But to give him that contract on the first day of free agency without seeing what other offers were going to be like for the big man who you want featured in the middle of your defensive line is absolutely ludicrous.

The full deal was set to pay Haynesworth $32 million over the first year with $41 guaranteed. Furthermore, he would have earned $115 over the course of the seven year deal had he met all of his incentives. Naturally, if you’re going to bring in a supposed all star and he meets all of his incentives and plays above and beyond what he’s asked in his contract, then you have no qualms with player and you’ve made a good move.

For Haynesworth, however, it was clear from the beginning that that was never going to happen. He came into training camp out of shape during his first year with the Redskins. Once the season got started, so did everything negative about Haynesworth. He was called for multiple personal fouls committed after the whistle blew a play dead and questioned the coaching staff about the team’s defensive scheme according to Jason Reid and Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post.

“If they keep this system the way it is, then they would label Albert Haynesworth a bust who didn’t live up to the contract,” Haynesworth said. “Everybody would say he just took the money and ran off. And I’m still playing as hard as I possibly can. But you can only do so much within the system that’s put around you. And I’m not talking about the players. The players have been great. I couldn’t ask for any better guys. I’m talking about the system. And [the coaches] can say whatever they want about that [the reason he was sent home Friday]. The main thing it’s coming from is what I said after the game about leadership and about the team.”

Haynesworth would continue to have conflicts with the coaching staff in 2009 that would carry into the offseason in 2010. New coach Mike Shanahan would go on to suspend Haynesworth on December 7, 2010 for the remainder of season for “conduct detrimental to the club” after a missed practice. Shanahan told reporters that the reason for Haynesworth’s suspension was that he failed to cooperate in multiple ways.

In 2010, Haynesworth only recorded 13 tackles and 2.5 sacks, both career lows. There was no point during Haynesworth’s stint as a member of the Redskins where he looked like the dominant nose tackle that recorded 8.5 sacks and 41 tackles. In fact, he had more sacks and only two fewer tackles in that 2008 season than he did in his two years as a Redskin.

After leaving the Redskins, Haynesworth failed to record another sack as a member of the Patriots or the Buccaneers and only recorded 22 tackles in 13 games.