Hey, remember last week when I made my case for Jason Taylor? I had this whole statistical argument for why I thought he was going to put up legitimate numbers next season — and that was BEFORE the Albert Haynesworth signing.
Well, here’s the good news: I might’ve been wrong.
The bad news is, if I was right and he does rebound from a wildly disappointing year, he’ll be doing it for another team, because he was released from the Redskins today.
So why did he go?
One reason is obvious: the team decided that — my keen statistical breakdown notwithstanding — a post-injury Taylor really wasn’t a sure thing to provide eight million dollars worth of production.
Second, I’m hearing that the team tried to tweak Taylor’s deal, keeping the money he was set to receive the same, but including a clause specifying the number of offseason workouts he would be required to attend. Taylor wouldn’t agree to the clause, and that was that.
I suspect that a third reason has to do with free agency in general and, oddly, Derrick Dockery in particular. I don’t think anyone here was sure that Haynesworth would be available at a price they were willing to pay — a suspicion borne out by Peter King’s account of Chris Canty’s first night of free agency . Even with the numbers changing for Haynesworth, though, I suspect that Taylor might’ve stuck around; it was the unexpected availability of Dockery that forced the team to commit money they hadn’t fully anticipated.
And continuing along that line of thinking, releasing Taylor frees room to possibly make further free agent moves. The team got younger with the moves they made this weekend, and may have decided that an aging defensive end like Taylor no longer fit in with their plans.
This changes the picture for the remainder of an offseason, not just at defensive end but also at linebacker (where people expected Taylor to spend some time).
It also renders the trade — sending second and sixth round picks to Miami for Taylor — an undeniable loss for the team.
Would a healthy Taylor — one who continued his streak of games started, one who played like he had for years on the Dolphins — have been worth that price? I tend to think so, but we’ll never know for sure, because what we got instead was a tweaked knee, a flukey (and life-threatening) injury, and one injury-hampered year.
And while I beat myself up for misjudging Taylor’s likely impact on the field next season, I can take some very small solace in getting my prediction about his jersey correct.
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