A couple days ago, we were wondering who the Titans would franchise, if anyone. We weren’t alone in assuming that it would either be Bo Scaife or Rob Bironas, and now we know that we were at least part right (which is pretty easy when you set up three scenarios). Last night, Tennessee locked up Bironas with a brand new four-year deal, and earlier today placed the franchise tag on Scaife. With Albert Haynesworth letting it be known that he will test the free agent market, the Titans don’t have any pressing deadlines over the next few days, and presumably will shift almost all of their focus on the combine taking place this weekend in Indianapolis.
Titan Sized would be doing the same, but our press credentials haven’t arrived in the mail yet, so we’re gonna talk about Haynesworth, and the implications of him not resigning here a little bit more.
Alright, no more beating around the bush here: Albert Haynesworth has probably played his last game as a Tennessee Titan. Knowing now that Big Al will test the market, which Titans fans everywhere have been dreading, there is a very, very good chance that he will take the money and skip town. Haynesworth probably wants at least 6 years at about $12 million per (Jared Allen-type $$$). Someone will probably give that to him, but don’t expect it to be Tennessee.
That’s just not how the Titans roll.
They would rather spread a 40-50 million dollar salary (and early indications are that Big Al’s new contract will be for at least that) around to three or four players that they feel are just as vital to the success of the team. And honestly, I can’t say that I disagree at this point.
Listen, as Titans fans, we all understand how important Haynesworth has been to this defense for the past two seasons. He has been, by far, the best player on that side of the ball for Tennessee. Quite honestly, he’s probably been the best defender in the game (or should I say had the biggest impact) since returning from his suspension. No way the Tennessee defense does what they did during that time without him. Point blank, period (thanks T.I.).
If Haynesworth were to leave, that would then leave the Titans more than enough money to address the QB situation, re-sign kick return specialist and backup CB Chris Carr to a multi-year deal, and possibly backup OT Daniel Loper. It also may open up the possibility of bringing in a (legitimate- i.e. not Carl Pickens, Yancey Thigpen or David Givens) top WR (can anyone say T.J. Houshmandzadeh or Anquan Boldin?) and then would allow them to address the defense in the draft. Or they could do just the opposite and go WR early in the draft and hope that second-year lineman Jason Jones will be able to fill Haynesworth’s shoes. There are a lot of ways this could go, but I think you get it.
No matter what happens, I truly believed the Titans are prepared. If Big Al is back, then fans can look forward to another dominant defense with the biggest piece of it locked up for the forseeable future (so long as he can stay healthy, keep his cleats off other people’s faces and learn how to drive like an upstanding citizen). If not though, there will be more money to spend in other areas that could use some strengthening. The Tennessee Titans have been one of the steadiest franchises in all of professional sports since coming to Nashville, so suffice it to say that they’ve got a contingency plan for if, and as it now sounds, when Albert Haynesworth decides to sign elsewhere this off-season. The real question is whether or not Titans fans are prepared to move on. I for one am bracing myself. I suggest you all do the same and keep your fingers crossed for the best…
For a full breakdown of the Bironas, Scaife and Haynesworth situation(s), check out this (pre-Scaife franchised) article by Titan Sized favorite, ESPN’s Paul Kuharsky. He be better at this than we is. Ummm, what?
Tags: 2009 NFL Draft Albert Haynesworth Anquan Boldin Arizona Cardinals Bo Scaife Carl Pickens Chris Carr Cincinnati Bengals Daniel Loper David Givens ESPN Jared Allen Paul Kuharsky Rob Bironas T.J. Houshmandzadeh Tennessee Titans Yancey Thigpen