Only in the NFL

Could it really happen? The Titans either made a major strategic blunder or did the best that they could with a bad hand when they gave Albert Haynesworth an out to being franchised again after the 2008 season. He was gunning for a big free agent deal and the Titans weren’t going to pay the price. I contend that if they could have franchised him again in 2009, the season could have been really different.

One year later, after the Redskins paid him and paid him and paid him like an executive from a “too big to fail” bank, he might be on the market. And the leading suitor could be the Titans. Confused yet?

The Redskins signed Haynesworth to a funny-money deal that on paper was the biggest deal for a defensive player in history. They paid him one giant bonus last year and another one this year. It’s the kind of deal that makes you think that he’s a centerpiece of the defense. Except that they’re changing the defense. Instead of playing 4-3 tackle he would be a 3-4 nose tackle. 3-4 nose tackles are lunch-pail guys who absorb double teams all day and usually are invisible on the stat line. That’s not Haynesworth’s game.

Don’t these crazy free agent deals show in a strange way why the divorce rate is so high in this country? I know it’s a stretch, but stick with me. Team signs high-caliber free agent. Jerseys get sold, fake money gets put on the contract to wow the shallow-digging press, player does commercials instead of working out in the offseason, player disappoints, team changes scheme, player is released/traded 12 months later, fans still complain that their team didn’t sign the big free agent. It’s a fun ride if you’re a masochist.

I don’t see how Haynesworth could do anything other than help the Titans on defense. Getting a trade deal done, especially when the team is already minus a second round pick, would be tough. Still, it would be ironic if the Titans ended up pulling a Randy Moss and trading a fourth-round pick to the Redskins for Haynesworth in the same draft in which they have a third-round compensatory pick for letting Haynesworth go last year.

According to Pro Football Talk, Haynesworth’s remaining deal is three years, $16 million with $9 million guaranteed. The top two DTs in the draft, Suh and McCoy, are going to get upwards of $40 million guaranteed. What a comparison. I assume that getting another monster deal, because if anything, football front offices have short memories, might be a motivating factor for Haynesworth and he might learn how to try again.

Until I read another story about Tim Tebow’s extraordinary leadership, this offseason just got less boring.

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