Agent: Titans plan to franchise DT Haynesworth by deadline

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans will slap defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth with a franchise tag by Thursday's deadline, but will keep working to sign the All-Pro to a long-term deal, his agent said Friday.

Agent Chad Speck said he talked with Titans general manger Mike Reinfeldt on Friday and that both sides are working on a long-term contract for Haynesworth. Speck said he doesn't anticipate a deal being completed before the Thursday deadline for teams' to designate franchise player.

"Mike confirmed to me that he will use the franchise tag on Albert but is committed to trying to get a deal done by July 15," Speck wrote in an e-mail. "I spoke with Albert today, and he is encouraged that talks have resumed."

Thursday is the final day teams can slap the franchise tag on players to keep them off the free-agent market that opens March 1.

The franchise designation will guarantee that Haynesworth is paid $6.37 million next season, the average salary of the five highest-paid defensive tackles. He was fourth on that list last year at $6.04 million.

Haynesworth rebounded from a five-game suspension in 2006 to post a career-high six sacks with 23 quarterback pressures and 69 tackles in 2007.

Haynesworth was a key piece in a defense that jumped from 32nd in yards allowed defensively in 2007 to fifth, a 6-2 start and the team's first playoff berth since 2003 despite a strained right hamstring that kept him out of three games.

He was selected an All-Pro for the first time in his career and played in his first Pro Bowl as a starter last week.

Teams can name a player an exclusive franchise tag, committing to a minimum offer of the average of the top five salaries at a player's position, a 20 percent raise from his 2007 salary or the average of the top five salaries at his position -- whichever is highest. That keeps other clubs from talking to the player.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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