Thoughts on Haynesworth, the new Redskin

February, 27, 2009
2/27/09
8:39
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

So big is the deal Albert Haynesworth has agreed to with the Washington Redskins, that the Titans will be out of the doghouse with many of their fans who were ready to pounce with complaints about their unwillingness to pay him.

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John Clayton says the deal is for seven years and $100 million, with the potential to max out at $115 million. It includes $41 million in guarantees, a stupefying $32 million of that over the first 13 months.

There will be a press conference Friday.

While as many as six teams expressed an interest and were in the ballpark of $30 million to $40 million in guarantees, Tampa was the last team standing before the Redskins closed it.

The deal stirs up a lot of questions, of course:

  • What does Haynesworth now need to do to be worth that kind of cash? In seven years with Tennessee, he had 454 tackles and 24 sacks while missing 22 of 112 games due to injuries. He could play every game and be more productive than ever and there will still be questions as to his worthiness of that kind of contract.
  • How are the Redskins affording this and what does it do to their salary cap over the life of the deal? Think they are rooting for 2009 to be the last capped year? The longtime thinking from the players' side has been that if the league reaches an uncapped year, it will never go back, thus the urgency for a new CBA by this time next year.
  • What was the last offer the Titans made and what was it worth? It would be good for them if they offered something reasonable and are able to say they made an effort but simply wouldn't approach that stratosphere. Jim Wyatt reports it was in the $11 million-a-year range. If the Titans were going to lose Haynesworth no matter what, Washington may have done them a favor. Fans will be hard-pressed to bemoan Tennessee's inability or unwillingness to approach these numbers. Will we hear numbers from the Titans or from Haynesworth at his introduction in D.C.?
  • Is there any possibility the Titans ask the league to investigate a tampering charge? Based on a report, denied by agent Chad Speck, that the team had worked out a deal before free agency officially started, they could. These things are hard to prove, and considering the likely gap between the package he got and the maximum the Titans offered it might prove fruitless and a waste of energy for Tennessee to pursue it. It's generally hard to prove such a complaint, but the speed of the deal certainly raises questions about if the league should look to somehow strengthen the prohibition against early talks or officially loosen up on what can go on from the combine forward as free agency approaches.
  • Will the Titans take a serious swing at Dallas free agent Chris Canty? They've already been in touch. But his price and the price of defensive tackles and defensive linemen will go up because of Haynesworth, even thought it shouldn't have much of a bearing. Scouts Inc. gave Haynesworth a grade of 93, with Jovan Haye the next best available tackle at just a 73. They've got Canty listed as an end, which is what he played in Dallas' 3-4, at a 77. I think the Titans could still have a reasonably strong line with Tony Brown and Jason Jones as the interior starters, though they can certainly fortify things beyond that.
  • Even if Haynesworth plays super football in Washington, he'll be under the microscope. Should he underachieve there he will get hammered by fans and media, but it doesn't mean he would have done the same had the Titans managed to keep him. Again, it's awfully hard to complain that they didn't based on the numbers. The debate now is more about the ease with which they handed him easy routes to ensure he wasn't franchised a second time.
  • In recent years, as the Titans got good again, Haynesworth gave them something they had lacked for a stretch: a player who was good enough that he was unafraid to speak his mind. He entertained us with shots at Matt Schaub and gripes about the front office not pursuing a big-play receiver. It's unlikely anyone in the locker room now will match that fearless outspokenness. The team won't miss that, but I sure will.

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