The Redskins have traded disgruntled defensive end Albert Haynesworth to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick in 2013, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The fact that Haynesworth has been traded comes as little surprise; the fact that it was to the Patriots is a bit of a stunner.
Not that Patriots coach Bill Belichick isn't willing to take chances on players. But Haynesworth's acquisition could signal a change in defensive strategy for the three-time Super Bowl winning coach. Belichick has been an advocate of the 3-4 defense, in which three down linemen and four linebackers are deployed.
But Haynesworth has almost always played in a 4-3 alignment, with four linemen and three linebackers. Last year, Haynesworth frequently butted heads with Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, because Haslett used Haynesworth in his 3-4 defense as a nose tackle. Haynesworth didn't like the fact that he was often double-teamed and was therefore unable to rush the passer.
In fact, the scheme was at the heart of Haynesworth's frustration with the Redskins. That frustration manifested itself in other ways, however, as Haynesworth failed to participate in the team's off-season conditioning program and couldn't immediately pass the preseason conditioning test. Head coach Mike Shanahan wouldn't allow Haynesworh to practice until he did.
The frustration continued during the regular season, however, and Haynesworth was eventually suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. Haynesworth had signed a seven-year free agent contract in 2009; the deal was worth more than $100 million.
One player who will no doubt be interested in the Haynesworth deal: Jets center Nick Mangold, who will now go head-to-head with the former All Pro tackle.