The Albert Haynesworth contract situation continues to be a slow-moving issue for the Tennessee Titans thus far in the offseason.
Tuesday’s decision by NFL owners to terminate the final two years of the collective bargaining agreement could have significant effects on the parameters of any deal reached between the defensive tackle and the Titans.
According to Haynesworth’s agent Chad Speck, he has been in communication with Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt throughout the course of the offseason, but negotiations are plodding along at a very deliberate pace.
“Mike and I have remained in communication with each other over the past few weeks, but there has been no significant progress made towards a new contract,” Speck said in an e-mail message on Tuesday.
There are no new breakthroughs in negotiations, and the defensive tackle has yet to sign his franchise tender offer, meaning he is working out on his own, rather than spending time in organized team activities with the rest of his teammates.
The Titans have until July 15 to reach an agreement on a long-term extension with Haynesworth or he will have to eventually sign the tender and play the 2008 season for that amount.
Another potential wrench was thrown into the mix on Tuesday, however, when NFL owners voted unanimously at their meetings in Atlanta to opt out of the final two seasons of the current collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association.
In terms of long-term deals the Titans want to work out with Haynesworth, offensive tackle David Stewart, kicker Rob Bironas or any other player they wish to get under a long-term contract, it perhaps became a bit trickier.
There is a rule in the agreement that says a player can only earn a 30 percent increase in base salary from the final capped year of the agreement to the uncapped year on the docket. Signing bonus money prorated over the life of the contract, however, does not factor into the 30 percent rule.
For example, if Haynesworth had earned a base and likely to be earned incentives totaling $5 million in 2011, a 30 percent raise in that number for 2012 would total $6.5 million.
Now, with the final two seasons lopped off the CBA, pending a new agreement, all contracts signed between now and the time a new collective bargaining agreement is signed will have the 30 percent rule apply beginning in 2009 — or after the coming season in which Haynesworth is scheduled to play for the tender amount of just over $8 million.
It also means that 2008 will be the last year that clubs can construct a deal in such a way to prorate the signing bonus over six years. If a deal is done in 2009, it can only have the bonus money spread over five seasons.
Those obstacles and parameters to work under likely led to the flurry of contracts agreed to Tuesday, including the one by Atlanta Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan, the third overall pick in the draft, and the deal reached by the Dallas Cowboys with running back Marion Barber.