Prior to his two tumultuous seasons in Washington, during which he showed up out of shape and repeatedly clashed with head coach Mike Shanahan, Haynesworth was one of the most dominant defensive players in the NFL.
He spearheaded the Tennessee Titans defense, earning back-to-back Pro Bowl selections and First Team All-Pro honors in 2007 and 2008. His value to the Tennessee defense, which helped the team record an NFL-best 13-3 record in 2008, was undeniable.
But the 6-foot-6, 320-pound force was disappointing in 12 games during the 2009 season, his first season after signing a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Redskins. Then, last season, he appeared in only eight games, none of which he started, and was the subject of multiple off-field problems.
But although it's been nearly three years since Haynesworth was in Pro Bowl form, he just turned 30 in June, meaning there could still be some solid football on his horizon. There's at least enough of a possibility of him righting the ship to warrant the Pats gambling on him and shipping out a fifth-round pick.
The Pats have had some previous success transforming formerly disgruntled players into productive stars. They did so with Randy Moss and Corey Dillon. It might me be more of a challenge for Haynesworth to resurrect his career, but Moss and Dillon are examples that it's certainly possible.
Haynesworth's participation at Patriots training camp has been sporadic, which has some wondering what exactly his future holds. But others have visions of him leading the charge for one of the NFL's premier defensive lines — which will also feature the likes of Vince Wilfork and recent acquisitions Shaun Ellis and Andre Carter, among others.