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Will Albert Haynesworth be a Titan beyond 2008?

As a result of his contract situation, Albert Haynesworth won’t be attending the beginning of the Tennessee Titans’ organized team activities, which start today at Baptist Sports Park.
The inability of Haynesworth and the Titans to hammer out a long-term deal continues to be an issue for the team as it heads into the 2008 season.
Haynesworth, who was designated as the team’s franchise player, has until July 15th to negotiate a contract that would allow him to be a Titan for probably the rest of his career and if a deal isn’t struck; the team may face the daunting prospect of “Fat Albert” being available on the open market next offseason.

Preventing Haynesworth from becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2009 should be an issue of great importance to Mike Reinfeldt and the Titans’ front office. If Tommie Kelly can command a seven-year $50 million deal from the free-spending Raiders, can you imagine what Haynesworth’s price tag will be if he becomes a free agent?
Haynesworth’s presence on the defensive line was felt tremendously by opposing teams last season. He played a big (pun intended) role on the Titans’ #5 ranked defense last year. By commanding double teams on a consistent basis, he allowed the likes of Kyle Vanden Bosch, Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy to take advantage of one-on-one matchups.
Losing Haynesworth after next year would be a catastrophic blow to the Titans. We’ve all seen what the defense looks like when Al isn’t playing, and folks, it isn’t a pretty sight.
During last November’s three-game losing streak, opposing teams took advantage of Haynesworth’s absence by running all over the Titans’ defense. The relentless pressure that the Titans usually put on opposing quarterbacks suddenly disappeared because of the failure of anyone outside of Haynesworth to command the level of attention that made the jobs of the defensive ends so much easier when Al was in the lineup.
The Titans, blessed with a ton of cap room at the onset of the offseason, have already locked up franchise LT Michael Roos for the next several years. Now the Titans should focus on the other side of the trenches by reeling in Haynesworth for the remainder of his career.
It’s time to reach a long-term deal with Haynesworth, or else, the Titans could be faced with the unfathomable possibility of losing him next offseason.