NgataHaynesworthTwo years ago Haynesworth became the first defensive lineman in NFL history to command a $100 million contract when he signed with the Washington Redskins. That enormous number was previously reserved for quarterbacks.
This offseason Haloti Ngata is the next dominant defensive lineman seeking a long-term contract. The Ravens protected themselves by using the franchise tag on Ngata, but the team has stated publicly it has every intention of making Ngata a career Raven. It's also possible the franchise tag may not exist in the new collective bargaining agreement, which only increases the urgency.
In 2009 Haynesworth was the top interior defensive lineman in the NFL and received a seven-year, $100 million deal from Washington with $41 million in guarantees. Haynesworth has since become a bust with the Redskins. Now a case can be made that Ngata, who is 27 and in his prime, is the top interior defensive lineman. Ngata has been to back-to-back Pro Bowls and was the only defensive lineman to make ESPN.com's Power Rankings of the top-10 defensive players.
Expect Haynesworth's deal to be the measuring stick in negotiations with Ngata. It would be surprising if Ngata received $100 million from Baltimore, but the guaranteed number ($41 million) could be comparable.
Ngata's representation will certainly ask for more than Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The 2010 No. 2 overall pick signed a five-year contract worth approximately $60 million. If the Ravens reach a long-term deal with Ngata this summer, expect Suh's contract ($60 million) and Haynesworth's contract ($100 million) to provide the parameters.