According to multiple reports (first reported by Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald), the New England Patriots have decided to part ways with defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
In Sunday's game against the Giants, Haynesworth had a really solid first half, picking up a quarterback hit and drawing a holding penalty. And as I noted just two weeks ago, he was really starting to make impact plays when he was seeing the field.
Unfortunately, due to possible conditioning issues and a lingering back injury, Haynesworth's snaps with the team were very limited. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Hayneworth played only 132 snaps in six games. Against the Giants on Sunday, he played just nine snaps and didn't play again after being driven out of the play on Brandon Jacobs' nine yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
In fact, following that play, Haynesworth got into it on the sideline with defensive line coach Pepper Johnson. At this point, it seems that the spat with Johnson is the most likely reason for Haynesworth's release. When Haynesworh was first acquired by the Patriots in August, it was with the "low risk" and "short leash" labels.
The Patriots will end up wasting only $1.5 million in base salaries (assuming he's not claimed on waivers) and a fifth round pick on Haynesworth.
Somehow, I still find this transaction somewhat disappointing. Haynesworth seemed to be saying all of the right things to the press, took a huge pay-cut, called being with the Patriots "career saving" and seemed to really be giving it his all on every play. However, he played poorly for two and a half quarters on Sunday, and after the shouting match with Johnson, maybe Bill Belichick sensed a changed in Haynesworth and realized he wasn't worth the potential headache if things really did turn sour.
I don't think there's much else to say about this end to a short-lived, and relatively disappointing era. While I was a little skeptical of the Haynesworth trade at first, I was a true believer by the end of training camp and I really thought he was going to dominate next to Vince Wilfork in the base 4-3. Apparently, I was wrong.
Lastly, I wouldn't be surprised if there was more to this story than meets the eye. Perhaps there were more issues brewing behind the scenes rather than just the argument with Pepper Johnson.