Lions wise to pass on Haynesworth
In my book, the Lions are winners in the early hours of free agency for their decision not to pursue Albert Haynesworth.
Granted, Haynesworth is one of the two best defensive tackles in football, but that was last year and paying him $100 million dollars is hardly the prudent decision for a franchise with so many holes. (Haynesworth said all along the top bidder was going to get his services, so it's not a reach to think the Lions, had they wanted to, could have outspent the cap-strapped Redskins once the clock struck midnight.)
The problem with Haynesworth, and I'm not alone in thinking this, is that his production likely will drop dramatically now that he's been (over)paid. He's never made it through a 16-game season and his two best years came when his contract was due. With an ungodly $41-million in guarantees and a reported $32 million due in the next 13 months, the Lions would have been toying with salary-cap hell when it came time to cut Haynesworth three underwhelming years from now.
By the looks of it, this is not a franchise that will be competing for a Super Bowl in the next year or two. They have holes on offense (quarterback, left guard, No. 2 receiver) and defense (tackle, two linebackers and throughout the secondary) and will be looking at more cap hits the next two seasons I'm not one who thinks an uncapped 2010 will become reality when Cory Redding and Jeff Backus are replaced by younger, cheaper alternatives. Trying to fill several needs now with first-day draft picks and middle-class but productive free agents is the way to build a team.
More importantly, general manager Martin Mayhew and president Tom Lewand, when they were officially introduced in their new capacities two days after last year's 0-16 season, spoke of following a blueprint and building the organization the right way of not getting enamored by the big name or glamorous player. Signing Haynesworth would have flown in the face of that. It's good to see the Lions eschewing big headlines and maintaining their discipline again.