AFC South: Chad Speck

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

And on my final day in Indianapolis, we've actually seen the sun. Left over defensive linemen are talking this morning, and then we'll see a parade of defensive backs.

The AFC South highlight of the day will be a highlight for all the assembled media and has become a final day tradition. Colts president Bill Polian will talk, offering thoughts on position strength in the draft and hitting, undoubtedly, on a variety of league issues. He'll also be asked about Marvin Harrison.

Onward, to some headlines:

Houston Texans

  • A look at the tough story of Rice tight end James Casey, from John McClain.

Indianapolis Colts

  • Jeff Saturday's agent says the Colts aren't talking contract, says Mike Chappell.
  • A decision on Marvin Harrison is looming. Chappell takes a look.
  • Not every legendary receiver spends his whole career with one team, says Chappell.

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • No moves in free agency would make for a better year than last, but with all their holes the Jaguars will have to do at least a bit in free agency, says Michael C. Wright.
  • Wright's excellent list of top free agents by position.

Tennessee Titans

  • Jim Wyatt looks at risk and reward of going into the salary range Albert Haynesworth is looking for.
  • The Titans met Saturday with Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, and the team upped its offer, according to Wyatt.
  • David Climer asks the big question regarding Haynesworth: Why did the Titans let it come to this?
  • A look at USC linebacker Clay Matthews, nephew of Oilers/Titans legend Bruce Matthews, from Wyatt.
  • Would Evander "Ziggy" Hood be a good option for the Titans if they lose Albert Haynesworth and need to add depth at defensive tackle? Terry McCormick ponders.

The case for paying Haynesworth ASAP

February, 5, 2009
2/05/09
11:00
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

The Tennessee Titans should acknowledge that it's Albert Haynesworth's turn to be the highest-paid defensive player in football and offer him a contract that would make him so. Add five or seven percent to Jared Allen's deal and get it in front of agent Chad Speck ASAP.

By my calculations that means a six-year package valued at about $77 million, or $12.82 million a year.

 
  AP Photo/John Russell
  Some team is going to make Albert Haynesworth the highest-paid defender in the league.

That doesn't mean the defensive tackle, who is set to become a free agent on Feb. 27, will take it. Because come that date, somebody will likely make him the higher paid highest-paid defensive player in football.

But at least the Titans could say they made a good faith effort and stuck to their principles of building from within and rewarding their own and we wouldn't be left questioning why they didn't try when they had the chance.

Count me among those who think the Titans need to retain him.

They should woo Haynesworth now, the way he will be wooed in a couple of weeks. Send his kids some gifts -- I'm thinking a house call from Ringling Bros. Send a limo to pick him up and take him out to dinner at his favorite fine restaurant. Sell him on the benefits of no state income tax, the unfinished business of the 2008 team, and the legacy he can have as a Titan. Make him feel loved -- because besides the money, that's the biggest thing coming with market freedom. Show him how guys like Reggie White and Michael Turner qualify as exceptions by illustrating how many guys who've made big moves in free agency have never been as good. Ask Jevon Kearse to share his Philadelphia story.

This is a plan any team seeking to retain a guy heading for free agency should employ this month. I've never understood why they don't try it.

Once the date comes, there is no chance Haynesworth is coming back. There is no list of coveted free agents who get to the open market and then return to their former team. That only happens if a guy and his representation completely miss the mark on predicting his value, and Haynesworth is going to be valued as a guy that can transform a defense.

(Read full post)

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans are now able to talk contract with Albert Haynesworth, their Pro Bowl defensive tackle who played this season as the team's designated franchise player.

Haynesworth

The rules of the tag prohibit a team from negotiating with the player on a long-term deal until the regular season is complete.

Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, said via e-mail that he fielded a call from Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt Monday.

"Mike called me today and expressed the Titans' interest to begin negotiations on a long-term deal for Albert," Speck wrote. "We had a preliminary discussion and our talks are in the very early stages. It is my intent to keep any future conversations I have with the Titans regarding Albert's contract private for the time being. I would echo coach [Jeff] Fisher's comments by saying that Albert is focused on getting his knee healthy and continuing his dominating play in the playoffs.

Haynesworth signed the $7.25 million tender deal in July after he and the team agreed on incentives that provided five different avenues for him to ensure the team could not tag him a second time. If Haynesworth met just one, he'd be cleared to become an unrestricted free agent on Feb. 27.

Haynesworth, who missed the last two regular-season games with a sprained knee but is expected back for the team's Jan. 10 playoff game, was named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster on Dec. 16. That was one of the incentives and made it official that he could not be tagged again in 2009.

The Titans now have an exclusive negotiating window of just over two months. Haynesworth could be in line to become the highest-paid defensive player in the league.

"Clearly we've expressed a great deal of interest, as he has, in working things out," Fisher said. "We'll move forward, but the most important thing right now is the playoffs and getting him ready. Getting him back on the practice field, getting him ready to play at the level he was before he got hurt."

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

 Albert Haynesworth
 Haynesworth

Contracts can be read in all different sorts of ways depending on what the person reading them wants to see.

When the Titans failed to lock down defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth with a long-term deal by Tuesday's deadline, the statement from GM Mike Reinfeldt said the franchise tender of $7.25 million "makes him the highest-paid defensive tackle in the NFL in 2008."

But agent Chad Speck disputed that claim.

"I would disagree with the statement that Albert, if he signs the franchise tender, will be the highest paid defensive tackle in the NFL in 2008. Shaun Rogers, Tommy Kelly, Tommie Harris, Corey Williams and Kris Jenkins will all earn significantly more than the one-year tender given to Albert in 2008."

Speck is right. Haynesworth's number might give him the highest average salary. But comparing a franchise number to a long-term contract is apples and oranges because the long-term guarantees are not factored in.

The Titans' stance is looking at average salaries or cap numbers, where only a piece of a signing bonus counts. Speck is looking at money pocketed, a number that's significantly higher after those big bonuses are collected.

Here's a breakdown of all those numbers:

PlayerTeamBase salary2008 bonusesSigning bonusCap numberPocketed in 2008
Shaun RogersCleveland$1.4M$1.2M$5M$3.43M$7.6M
Tommy KellyOakland$625KN/A$13M$2.79M$13.6M
Tommie HarrisChicago$605K$3.5M$6.5M$6.07M$10.6M
Corey WilliamsCleveland$605K$1.6M$6.5M$3.28M$8.7M
Kris JenkinsN.Y. Jets$750K$4.25M$4.5M$5.9M$9.5M

All five put more in their pocket this season than Haynesworth will, which is a reasonable way to look at it.

Speck will try now to get the Titans to agree to some incentives, which, if earned, will prevent the team from franchising Haynesworth again next season.

I don't see the Titans giving that away very easily.

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