It's official: the Bucs have added Albert Haynesworth to their roster, well over two years after trying to land him in free agency but losing him to the Washington Redskins. To clear up a roster spot for him the Bucs released DT John McCargo, who they signed just yesterday. Tough business.
There are some positives and negatives to this move, and I'd like to go over them. First, I'll handle the positives.
Obviously Albert Haynesworth has a ridiculous amount of talent, and when he's motivated and playing hard he can still get after it and destroy opposing offensive linemen. There's a reason why the big man was named an all-pro in 2007 and 2008: he was a disruptive force in a scheme that let him disrupt and get after the quarterback. And that's exactly what the Bucs will ask him to do: beat the opposing linemen and get in the backfield. That's something he can still do - if he wants to.
And there lies the rub, and the negative side to this move. Albert Haynesworth hasn't failed the past two years because he couldn't play anymore. He failed because he was trouble and wasn't consistently playing well. There's a clip swimming around of Haynesworth being pancaked mid-play, and just not making any effort to get up. That describes the big defensive tackle. He only plays when he wants to, and he has caused trouble for every team he's been with. From stomping on players' heads to failing conditioning tests to getting in fights with coaches - he's done it all.
That's the problem the Bucs will have to deal with: can the locker room handle Albert Haynesworth's presence, and can the coaches get him to be productive and not a destructive force?
I would like to get rid of one myth here, first: Albert Haynesworth didn't fail because he was asked to do something he didn't like to do. The Patriots brought him in specifically to play 3-technique in 4-3 sets - something the Bucs will want him to do to. Despite that, he was cut. Not because he wasn't playing well necessarily, but because he got into a fight with his position coach. According to Boston.com he gave no effort in his last game against the New York Giants. Yep, trouble.
Of course, the risk for the Bucs is minimal, which is why I do like this move. If he doesn't pan out or if he's a bad locker-room presence the Bucs can just cut him, and be done with it. They don't need to pay attention to their cap situation either this year or next year, so Albert Haynesworth's relatively cheap contract won't be a problem for them either.
Keith Millard and Grady Stretz have their work cut out for them. Haynesworth has as much talent as any defensive tackle in the league - but can they get him to play up to that level consistently? In the end I think the Bucs have added a decent situational pass rusher, but not much more than that.