It’s D-Day for the Tennessee Titans and Albert Haynesworth, as talks between the two sides continued on Monday.
That’s D as in deadline, as the club and the franchised defensive tackle face a deadline of 3 p.m. CDT Tuesday to negotiate a new long-term contract extension or Haynesworth will be forced to play for the $7.25 million franchise tender offer that was placed on him in February.
Haynesworth, the Titans’ first-round pick in 2002, enjoyed the finest season of his six-year NFL career in 2007 with six sacks in 13 games and spearheading a defense that finished ranked fifth in the league overall after being dead last the year before.
Haynesworth was bothered by a hamstring injury that forced him to miss three games — all Titans losses. The defensive tackle’s durability is one of the complications standing in the way of a long-term deal, as he has not played in 16 games since his rookie season when he was a backup in the rotation until the end of the year.
Negotiations between Haynesworth and the Titans could potentially continue behind the scenes, but he cannot officially sign an extension until after the 2008 season if he misses Tuesday’s deadline.
Efforts to reach Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt were unsuccessful on Monday. However, a Titans spokesman said Monday that talks between the two sides were still on-going and would continue up until the zero hour. Haynesworth's agent Chad Speck confirmed to The City Paper Monday night that the two sides were talking, but did not comment beyond that.
Both the Titans and Haynesworth have said they would like to get a long-term solution to the problem. But that would become a backburner issue after the deadline passes with the focus shifting to Haynesworth signing the tender offer in order to play the 2008 season.
Just when that would be signed is a matter of debate. Speck said late last month he hoped Haynesworth would be in training camp on time when it begins July 25, but the agent also wants the Titans to pledge not to franchise his client again in 2009.
That is a trump card the Titans hold as leverage in the talks, though Reinfeldt conceded there was the possibility some concessions and incentives could be worked into the tender offer.
Many players who have been franchised in the past have used not signing as their means of leverage, electing to sign the week before the regular season opener and skipping training camp and the preseason.
KEGLAR CONTRACT: According to a league source, the contract agreed to by rookie linebacker Stanford Keglar contains base salaries $290,000 for 2008, $385,000 for 2009, $470,000 in 2010 and $555,000 in 2011 as well as a signing bonus of $385,100.