NFL free agency decisions aren't just about the money

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NFL,John Keim

The trouble with free agency is that a players' true motivation is revealed. Players who want to be great will work that way. Players who just want the money will be satisfied.

So when you bemoan the Redskins' (forced) inactivity in free agency, just remember these two words: Albert Haynesworth.

The current group would not take a gamble on a player with his background. At least they haven't done so thus far. And it's why you can't celebrate a high-profile players' signing until you actually see results on the field.

This is why we're talking about Haynesworth now: A couple days ago his former defensive line coach at Tennessee, Jim Washburn, was asked about him. Washburn talked about what motivated Haynesworth and told a Nashville radio station that the defensive tackle told him, "I want to be the richest guy in the world."

His goal wasn't quite accomplished, but it's clear that his end-game was about money and not about leaving any sort of impact on the game. But this is the danger when giving players a huge contract. When the Redskins gave Dana Stubblefield big money back in the day (pre-Daniel Snyder), he responded by not working hard at all. Other players want to prove that they're worth the money: London Fletcher, Pierre Garcon, Barry Cofield.

Teams need to filter out what sort of player they're getting before signing. Sometimes you just don't know. But when it came to Haynesworth, it's a safe bet Washburn knew what Washington was getting.

- John Keim

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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