We’ve seen the reports that Titans defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth’s election to the AFC Pro Bowl roster secured for him unrestricted free agency in 2009, since making the all-star team was one of the four triggers that prevents the Titans from slapping the franchise tag on him for a second straight season.
But here’s the thing — as a practical matter, Haynesworth already had won his freedom.
Once the Titans won their tenth game, Haynesworth had to participate in only 53 percent of the total snaps on defense for the year in order to avoid the franchise tender.  Given that he started in each of the team’s first 14 games, the Titans would have to generate a physically impossible number of defensive snaps in the final two weeks to push Haynesworth under 53 percent.
The real question, as we see it, is whether the Titans will try to lock him up before he hits the market.
As we see it, the team is in a no-win situation.  Selected in the first round of the 2002 draft, Haynesworth was a borderline bust in his first four seasons.  He slid squarely into “turd” category in 2006, when he treated the forehead of Cowboys center Andre Gurode like a block of aged gouda. 
Last year, with the promise of a gigantic payday staring in his face, Haynesworth suddenly became a monster.  This year, with the opportunity to hit the market while at the same time making more than $7.25 million, he played once again like the guy he was expected to be coming out of the University of Tennessee.
But once he gets paid, what will happen?  Will he, like several other defensive tackles who have cashed in, go soft?  For the privilege of finding out, the Titans will have to fork over a ton of cash.
And if they let him walk, then he’ll likely have a chip on his shoulder in his new city.  So if he plays like a beast in 2009, the Titans will look stoopid for letting him go.
The problem is that most fans don’t understand these nuances of the sport/business.  Thus, the Titans likely will be pushed into overpaying for Haynesworth — and for assuming the risk that, once he’s financially comfortable, he’ll realize once again that banging bodies with other very big men really, really hurts.


  1. Good call, Mike…look at Shaun Rogers. Same situation, Cleveland just got him for a lot less than Tennessee will have to pay for Haynesworth.

  2. if you the titans, you have to at least try to sign him. pay him his worth and see if he signs. hes one of the best defensive player in the league this year and last.

  3. When he stepped on Andre Gurode’s head it was one of the greatest moments in NFL history!
    It was a travesty he was penalized.

  4. That’s the exact reason he didn’t get signed last year. We wanted to put incentives into his contract, but his agent didn’t want him to have any incentives. People act like he did anything before last year, but he didn’t. I saw some stat that we were 3-13 without him since 2004, but how does that really matter? I’m willing to bet that all 3 wins came when he wasn’t good in 2006, when Vince Young was putting on a show. He made a huge difference last year, where we got our asses kicked by the Jaguars (28-13), Broncos (34-20), and Bengals (35-6) in the 3 games he was out.
    Ah well, hopefully Jason Jones will be able to step up somewhat this weekend, but at least we won’t have to worry about Roethlisberger having all day to throw since his offensive line sucks, but I’m worried about Willie Parker running all over us.

  5. If the Titans let him go, the NFL should force Detroit to go after him. No team needs him more than the Lions. They won’t do it and Detroit will continue to suck, but they SHOULD do it.

  6. That’s why they gave him this year w/ the promise not to tag him again. They wanted to make him do it again. I have to assume that they figured if he met any of those requirements that they’d be willing to pay him whatever anyway so why would it matter if they couldn’t tag him?

  7. A.HAYNESWORTH’S going to a new team next year.The fans of that team will freak out until he does nothing but put a third level on his house with all the money that he gets. This will be his best year, I wouldn’t want him

  8. “superBROWNS 69 says:
    December 17th, 2008 at 8:30 pm
    shaun rogers made the pro bowl dumbass”
    What did I say that was insulting? Does that change the fact he was useless until he wanted to get out of Detroit and get a contract extension? Rogers was a fat, lazy POS who did not play hard until an extension came into the picture. Watch what happens to him after he gets big time money. That’s the point Florio’s making, and that’s all I’m saying. No one said anything about Rogers’ Pro Bowl selection.
    Stupid ass Browns fans…I seriously pity you.

  9. I may be in the minority, but I think he is overhyped. He just doesn’t stand out to me when I see the Titans play. If they have the money and like him for their system then fine pay him and get it done, but if they don’t sign him then that’s saying something…

  10. his contract should just be almost entirely performance incentives. If he’s going to want to be the highest paid interior DL in the league then he should be willing to accept a contract full of escalators to force him to play like it.
    it’s amazing how well he’s played with big $$$ on the line, but if some team is stoopid enough to give him a 5 year deal with $20 or so million guarenteed then they’re asking him to go back to being the turd he was in 2004/05.

  11. The guy is a turd – he’ll do exactly what most of the DT’s have done after getting paid. I.E. – Tommie Harris in Chicago. End of story.

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