TAMPA — The Buccaneers needed to fill a hole in the middle of their defensive line left by the early season exit by second year man Gerald McCoy. They did that by adding John McCargo but they have now cut McCargo to make room for a bigger (and possibly better) huge body: former one year wonder Albert Haynesworth.
Haynesworth was waived by the New England Patriots earlier this week and he comes to Tampa with more then just his shirts in terms of baggage.
Haynesworth left the Tennessee Titans after standout years in 2007 and 2008 to sign an $100 million contract with the Washington Redskins.
This is where Haynesworth fell off the map and fell out of favor in NFL circles. He had character issues in the past before joining Washington, most notably when he attempted to stomp on Dallas Cowboy center Andre Gurode’s unprotected head. When he missed he tried again and gouged Gurode’s eye and severely damaged his face.
During his time with the Redskins Haynesworth didn’t produce anywhere near the worth of $10 million let alone his $100 million price tag. He was traded after two seasons in Washington to the New England Patriots this offseason.
“I think if Gerald wasn’t hurt I probably wouldn’t make this move”
-Bucs GM Mark Dominik on the signing of Haynesworth
He didn’t start any games and only played three with the Patriots but he has reportedly cleaned up his act.
One of the gripes he had in Washington was the lack of proper use he was receiving. In Tampa it’s safe to say he will be the big man in the middle and will be heavily used. The New England Patriots have stated the release of Haynesworth was more about his not fitting into their schemes then his character which is a good sign.
“I’ll just say this on the Albert situation. I thought that both he and myself — speaking for the (coaching) staff — we really tried to make it work,” said Patriots head coach Brian Belichick. “He had a few limitations to overcome when he got here, but I thought he really tried to do what we asked him to do. We tried to work with him. In the end, it just didn’t work out. I think the best thing we could do was move on.”
The Bucs have a lot of troubled, second chance guys on their team which is hwy it’s not too much of a surprise they snatched up Haynesworth. The Bucs tried to sign Haynesworth in 2009 when he was a free agent for $50 million. They now get him for
$1.5 million this year and $6.5 next season for a total of $7 million total.
Haynesworth will provide much needed aid to a defensive line that has been shredded by running backs. One of Haynesworth’s best attributes is his ability to stuff the run. But this was a skill that the Bucs felt was worth $50 million three years ago. The lack of production in Washington is troubling but the Bucs have no other options to remain a serious threat in the NFC South, a division they now trail two teams in.
Tampa has cut John McCargo to make room for Haynesworth. This is the second time this season that McCargo has been signed and cut in a matter of days by the Bucs. The first time was due to his being out of shape. This time it is to make room for who that Bucs deem a superior lineman.
The Bucs will have Roy Miller and Brian Price available Sunday for their game against the Texans. Frank Okam will remain out and Gerald McCoy is out for the season, a move that GM Mark Dominik said directly dictated the decision to sign Haynesworth.
“I think if Gerald wasn’t hurt I probably wouldn’t make this move” Dominik said. Dominik watched Haynesworth’s game tapes twice over before claiming the defensive tackle.
“[I saw] that he can be strong, powerful, dominating. He’s disruptive still. He can overpower his opponent. When I see him hit a gap or shoot a gap, he can still play football. He’s not one of these older players that really can’t play anymore. I just want him to play our way. [Head] Coach [Raheem] Morris is excited about it and we’re looking forward to moving forward with Albert Haynesworth.”
Dominik is hoping that Haynesworth switch to the Bucs 4-3 defense will be beneficial to both sides.
“I think a thing that I’m going to bank on a little bit here is our defense and what we ask the 3-technique (defensive tackle) to do,” Dominik said. “Regardless of what you’ve seen from Albert Haynesworth over the past couple of seasons, he’s been more of a 3-4 defensive end who was two-gapping. We’ve always felt he’s a 1-gap penetrator. It made sense to us, it made sense to me to put the claim in for a guy I think can help us in this second-half stretch.”
The Bucs sit in third place in the NFC South and face a run heavy Houston Texans team on Sunday in Tampa.