The release of defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth is not a surprise given what unfolded in Sunday’s loss to the Giants.
Haynesworth was benched after he was on the field for one second-half snap, Brandon Jacobs’ 10-yard run. He was dominated by left guard David Diehl on the run and it was easy to question his effort. On the sideline after the play, Haynesworth and defensive line coach Pepper Johnson were witnessed by fans having a heated exchange.
Bill Belichick later said Haynesworth’s lack of action was a result of a rotation, but when Haynesworth wasn’t part of the goal-line defense with the game on the line, it seemed to be much more than a rotation issue.
Haynesworth’s impact through the first half of the season has been limited.
He played in six of eight games, missing two with a back injury. He was credited by coaches with six tackles, and also drew three holding penalties.
While there were flashes of excellence, hopes that he would team with veteran Vince Wilfork to form a dominant 1-2 punch as defensive tackles in the 4-3 scheme never materialized. He was mostly a backup or situational player, working behind Wilfork and second-year player Kyle Love. The Patriots have depth with veteran Gerard Warren and third-year player Ron Brace to fill that role.
Per ESPNBoston.com charting, Haynesworth was on the field for 133 of 561 snaps (including penalties) this season.
The Patriots gave up a fifth-round draft choice and $1.5 million in base salary for Haynesworth. When the Patriots acquired him, it was viewed as a low-risk, high-reward move.
Turns out there was little reward.