In a five-hour span from the moment free agency kicked off, the Washington Redskins provided their own stimulus to the economy.
Washington doled out a stunning $156 million worth of contracts — $100 million to free-agent defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and another $56 million on free-agent cornerback DeAngelo Hall.
At 5:45 a.m. ET, without going to sleep, Washington officials still were gathered at their offices, reliving the Haynesworth negotiations and drawing up the paperwork on the deal that will have the rest of the league abuzz.
One year after the Redskins, remarkably, failed to sign a single notable unrestricted free agent, they made up for it in a stunning way.
They signed the top player in this year’s market. The deal is breathtaking, and will reverberate around the league the way the Alex Rodriguez contract did in baseball.
Haynesworth received more guaranteed money than any NFL player. He received more money than any NFL defensive player. He tried sacking the idea that we are in a recession.
The deal will come with its own inherent set of expectations and pressures. Everyone will be watching Haynesworth and expecting him to produce like the $100 million man that he is. He will be added pressure not only to himself but Redskins coach Jim Zorn, who will be expected to guide his team to the playoffs for all the money that has been invested in it.
At the start of free agency, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder ponied up. He will demand his team does the same.