The Associated Press reported that the Titans will be holding a minicamp without defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
“The Titans tagged Haynesworth as their franchise player in February to keep him from leaving as an unrestricted free agent. Tennessee must reach a long-term contract deal with Haynesworth by July 15. If that doesn’t happen, the team can only sign him to a one-year deal worth $7.8 million.”
Early this year, Haynesworth made it clear that he didn’t want to play under the franchise tag.
“I’d be disappointed because that would mean they don’t really want me here long term,” Haynesworth said. “If they franchise me, I feel like they don’t really want me here long term, then I’ll prepare myself to play like that.”
Unfortunately, this may become a bigger distraction than I originally thought. Haynesworth had 32 solo tackles last season, and racked up six sacks in only 13 games. It’s hard to quantify how much impact he had on the entire line, which was much improved from 2007. The Titans defense as a whole was in the top 10 statistically in rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and most importantly points allowed. Haynesworth is headed into his 8th year in the league and would appear to have a couple more high-level seasons left in him.
You could see the difference in the entire defense in the games Albert missed. It was Christmas morning for opposing running backs. A lot of people will suggest that the Titans need to franchise him, and make him prove himself on the field again. In my humble opinion, it’s time for the team to pay up, and let him be the cornerstone of the defense for the next 2-3 years.