The New England Patriots brought out the best in often-disgruntled players such as Corey Dillon and Randy Moss.
So why not Albert Haynesworth?
Now, the Patriots will get their chance. On Thursday, the team reportedly traded a fifth-round draft pick in 2013 to Washington for Haynesworth, a two-time All-Pro defensive tackle who is occasionally awesome but far more often apathetic. The deal is contingent on Haynesworth passing a physical, which is no guarantee.
Haynesworth and Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan never clicked. Haynesworth will go down as the most expensive bust in Washington history so far, seeing as the Redskins gave him a seven-year, $100-million contract in 2009, with $41 million guaranteed.
Haynesworth is scheduled to make $5 million this season.
“He’ll see how we do things around here, point blank,” Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork told reporters. “We had guys come through here with a rap sheet and [people] say he can’t be handled, this guy can’t do this, and you know what, it worked out fine for us.
“So I don’t think it will be a big problem.”
It wasn’t Coach Bill Belichick’s only eye-catching move of the day. According to multiple reports, he also traded for Twitter-happy Cincinnati receiver Chad Ochocinco, the Bengals’ all-time leader in receptions (751), yards receiving (10,783) and touchdown catches (66).
Among the league’s more active players on Twitter, Ochocinco was uncharacteristically quiet after the deal, simply tweeting: “God is so good.”
As of Thursday afternoon, the Patriots had not announced their trades, and neither had the Redskins or Bengals. That was in keeping with the murkiness of this unprecedented week of eleventh-hour transactions. Teams can make trades and release players but are not allowed to sign unrestricted free agents until 3 p.m. PDT Friday.
Still, handshake deals have been going on all over the league this week, promising for an interesting month of training camps before the regular season starts in six weeks.
Some of the notable moves Thursday:
• In a trade that was telegraphed for quite a while, Philadelphia sent quarterback Kevin Kolb to Arizona for cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round draft choice. That came a day after news that Minnesota had worked out a trade with the Redskins for quarterback Donovan McNabb. Not so long ago, the Eagles’ depth chart once read, 1. McNabb, 2. Kolb, 3. Michael Vick.
• Brad Smith, the ultra-versatile receiver for the New York Jets, agreed to terms with Buffalo, stirring speculation that the Bills will use him frequently as a Wildcat quarterback.
• Two former starting quarterbacks were shown the door, with Cleveland releasing Jake Delhomme and Tennessee saying goodbye to Vince Young.
• Miami reportedly made a trade with New Orleans for running back Reggie Bush. Nine years ago, the Dolphins made a swap with the Saints for another Heisman Trophy-winning running back, Ricky Williams. Although Williams wound up winning a rushing title in Miami, the Dolphins have not won a playoff game since making that deal.