Tennessee agrees to terms with WR Washington, DT Haye

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After losing Albert Haynesworth to a record-setting contract last weekend, the Tennessee Titans delved into the free-agent pool and added a pair of players Monday.

The Titans signed Pittsburgh Steelers free-agent wide receiver Nate Washington to a six-year deal, and added former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Jovan Haye with a four-year deal.

NFL Network's Adam Schefter reported that Haye's contract is worth $16 million and Washington's deal is valued at $27 million, including $9 million guaranteed.

The Titans are hopeful Washington, 25, is ready to step into the role of a No. 1 receiver after being third on the Steelers depth chart behind a pair of Super Bowl MVPs in Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes.

Washington, who caught 40 passes for 631 yards for the Steelers last year, will be counted on not only to replace Brandon Jones, who left for San Francisco as a free agent, but also to start alongside holdover Justin Gage.

"I'm ready for that opportunity and I'm ready for that responsibility to step in and be a No. 1-type receiver," Washington said.

Washington also adds much-needed speed to Tennessee's receiving corps.

"We were concerned about him as an opponent, and we're glad now to have him running down the field and catching passes for us," coach Jeff Fisher said.

Washington said he learned a lot playing behind the two Steelers stars.

"I think the main thing I learned is patience. At Pittsburgh, their offense is pretty much a carbon copy of the offense here," he said. "When you have opportunities, you have to seize them. Playing behind those two, they're gonna get the majority of the offense, but at the same time, you're gonna have your opportunity. I understood that and it made me humble, and it made me understand the types of things that go on when you play team ball. Hopefully, I can bring that here."

Haye is returning home in a sense, having played college football in Nashville at Vanderbilt. He spent the past three years with Tampa Bay, where his best season came in 2007 with six sacks and 68 tackles.

"He had six sacks in '07, and last year battled through a lot of injuries, and I'm sure when we get him back to 100 percent, he'll be very effective for us," Fisher said.

Haye was asked about trying to replace Haynesworth, a two-time All-Pro who signed a $100 million deal with the Washington Redskins on Friday.

"Albert was a great player, and he did great things here in Tennessee," Haye said. "I'm not coming here to try and fill his shoes. I'm just going to be me. Whatever I have to offer, I'm going to give. I don't see it as replacing Albert. You can never replace Albert. He's a big massive guy and a great football player.

"I'm just looking to make my own name, and hopefully, one day somebody else can say the same (about me)."

Fisher said he is confident that Haye will join a rotation that contains holdovers Tony Brown, Jason Jones and Kevin Vickerson, and that that group can help offset losing Haynesworth.

"We're good at the tackle position," Fisher said. "We're gonna rotate and we're not gonna drop off. You don't replace Albert, but we had interest in (Jovan) last year when we still had Albert, and if we had re-signed Albert, we still would have had interest in him."

Hentrich returns: Fisher also announced Monday that longtime Titans punter Craig Hentrich has decided to postpone his retirement plans and play the 2009 season. Hentrich, a free agent, will have to sign a new contract. He had considered retiring after having back problems for the past several season, including a pair of surgeries.

"For all intents and purposes, Craig Hentrich will be the punter for this football team again next year," Fisher said.

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.

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