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Patriots avoid big bonus money by cutting Haynesworth now

New York Giants v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 01: Albert Haynesworth #92 of the New England Patriots and Chris White #60 of the New York Giants battle for position in the first half on September 1, 2011 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

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The Albert Haynesworth experiment in New England clearly wasn’t working. Bill Belichick decided to cut his losses Tuesday before Haynesworth became any more expensive.

When Haynesworth joined the Patriots, he took a pay cut in base salary from $5.4 million to $1.5 million. He had the chance to make that money back in playing time incentives.

He won’t make any of the money back now.

Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports reported in August that Haynesworth would have received a $1 million bonus if he played in 20% of the team’s snaps for the year. Almost $3 million more was available if he reached playing time incentives beyond that.

None of that money should be paid to Haynesworth. Using snap counts from’s Mike Reiss, Haynesworth has played roughly 30% of the team’s snaps during the first nine games. Cutting Haynesworth now should allow the Patriots to avoid any further payment because that percentage should dip below 20% by year’s end.

Haynesworth will be subject to waivers, but we’d be shocked if any team claimed him.

In the end, the Patriots wasted a fifth-round pick (in 2013), $1.5 million, and way too much time and energy on Haynesworth.

Let’s not pretend, however, that this was a financial move. If Haynesworth was playing well, the Patriots would gladly pay him all the money.

He wasn’t playing well at all, which means Haynesworth will go down as yet another recent failed defensive personnel move by Bill Belichick.