August 2, 2009

New Evidence of Redskins Tampering? CNNSI Visits Skins, Ravens Camps

To re-set the stage, the NFL has begun a tampering probe into the Redskins' signing of Albert Haynesworth. No team was allowed to contact a free agent until midnight on February 27, 2009. The Skins signed Haynesworth by 5:30 a.m.

The evidence so far is that Daniel Snyder and Haynesworth (and Redskins receiver Malcolm Kelly) agent Chad Speck had dinner in mid-February in Indianapolis. Then on the same morning free agency opened, February 27, 2009, FB/HB/KR Rock Cartwright said in an interview on Snyder's Redskins Radio, "I kind of had an idea they were going to sign [Haynesworth] anyways...One of my teammates said they had the same agent and ... he said they had been talking."

blalbblahblah Looks pretty good for having been up all night negotiating.

Further, the contract itself is not that simple. The deal was announced at over $100M with $41M guaranteed. According to ESPN, the deal includes a lump sum $29M payout in the fifth year, which effectively makes it a four-year deal.

The new evidence comes from Haynesworth himself. This is from King's training camp vignette:

When Haynesworth was talking to the Redskins, he wanted to be sure of one thing: He wouldn't have to change his style of play. The Titans allowed him to penetrate and attack the backfield over the last seven years. Under Blache, the Washington tackles have been more read, hold the fort, and then react and attack.

"If I was going to come here, I wanted to make sure they'd let me be me,'' Haynesworth told me. "I wasn't coming here to change my style and be one of those 'read' guys. But they said they wanted me to play my game, and so that made my decision easier.

So the Redskins' position is that at midnight on February 27, 2009, the team reached out to Albert Haynesworth for the first time. They entered into negotiations, hammered out the details, Haynesworth shopped the deal around to other teams to make sure no one wanted to out-bid the Redskins, Haynesworth spoke to defensive coordinator Greg Blache to ensure he would be allowed to play the exact same role, both sides signed a deal and got it announced by 5:30 a.m. Then everyone converged on Redskins Park for a press conference, looking fresh and invigorated.

Either the Skins were doing a lot of talking to Haynesworth, or they overbid for him so badly that Haynesworth and Chad Speck were tripping over furniture to find a pen to sign on the dotted line.

CNNSI Visits Redskins, Ravens Camps

CNNSI is doing their obligatory 32-camp tour. This past weekend they hit both McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland (Ravens) and whatever they call that money-leeching corporate mecca in Ashburn, Virginia (Redskins). Both Peter King and former NFL guard Ross Tucker attended both camps, but King wrote the Skins' piece and Tucker wrote the Ravens'.

The Skins piece is a mixed bag. King only really gets excited for superstars (Brady, Manning, Peterson, etc.) so there isn't much for him at Redskins Park. First he complains about Redskins Park and the 1,000 fans or so in attendance. He does see good things for Haynesworth and Jason Campbell, but questions the failure to upgrade the offensive line. Of course, over a third of his post is dedicated to food.

The Ravens' counterpart is very positive, but Ross Tucker is generally a more positive writer than King. Tucker describes Westminster as typical of the small-college towns that host camps, noting that the 10,000-plus in attendance made parking a nightmare for him and King. Tucker notes that DT Haloti Ngata is emerging, that Joe Flacco commands the offense now, and that Ray Rice is making strides towards being the clear #1 back. The post went up Saturday, so the news of Mason returning is included but does not receive much treatment.

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