If a no-season makes for this much offseason madness, I'm half tempted to welcome it. Maybe not, but the most interesting spring in a long time took another surprising turn of late with the whispers of a potential Albert Haynesworth trade...just one year after the defensive tackle was the biggest, costliest prize of the free agent season. Making the whole thing even more surprising are the rumors that the St. Louis Rams are one of the interested teams.
There are conflicting reports today that Washington does not want to trade him and that they do want to trade him.
The Rams aren't usually in the mix for trades involving the league's top players, especially given the kind of contracts those guys carry. However, this is strange new period for the NFL. The Rams finally have a front office dedicated to making the best team possible, and they have money to burn, sort of, after clearing out the hefty veteran contracts of yesterday. If the Rams really are interested - it's notable that Billy Devaney has not denied this one like they did so quickly with the McNabb and Vick rumors - there are a couple of scenarios that could make this trade feasible for the Rams. There are also, of course, a couple of question marks.
What the Redskins are wanting in return has yet to be ascertained. One possibility that could be part of a Haynesworth deal is cash, of the cold hard variety. You see Washington spent a whole bunch of money for Haynesworth and his 4 sacks last year, and they just paid him a $21 million bonus last week. It's whispered that they might be looking to offset that bonus as the main part of a deal.
Of course, since when is money an issue with Dan Snyder? Maybe it is now since the media biz ain't what it used to be, and people aren't spending lots of their own cash to visit those dirty, run down Six Flags theme parks with unemployment still hovering around 10 percent.
The Rams have salary space, so it's possible that they could use some of that money to make this trade happen. Then again, it's widely believed that the Rams are proceeding cautiously with their funds given the ownership situation, but there could be lots more happening behind the scenes than we know about on that front. Many would consider spending money on a player of Haynesworth's caliber to be a good investment since it would start getting butts in the seats at the Ed Jones Dome sooner.
If money is primarily what Washington wants for the big DT, that also means the Rams likely don't have to surrender any of their draft picks in the top three rounds or so.
Then there are the Rams' players that could be a fit for Washington. DT Adam Carriker has been mentioned several times in the back and forth, with the Redskins eying him as a DE in their new 3-4 scheme. Would a Carriker-Haynesworth deal be enough? I doubt it. Carriker didn't even play last year. However, Carriker and some cash to offset that $21 million bonus payment might get the deal done.
Alex Barron might also be a potential trade chip for a Washington team needing help on the offensive line. He's athletic enough that Shanahan's cut blocking scheme could work and give the former first round pick a fresh start. That would leave the Rams with a huge need along the offensive line, but the draft or roster cuts could afford them a fix.
On paper, Haynesworth instantly make the Rams defense much better, but if people are concerned about the baggage WR Brandon Marshall would bring, there has to some worry about Haynesworth's presence in the Rams locker room.
The big DT certainly didn't have the kind of season you would have expected from his contract last year in Washington. His best season came in 2008, his walk year with the Titans. That has to be a concern.
If the Rams were to make this deal, the front office would have to have supreme faith in Spagnuolo's ability to keep the balance in the locker room.