Could the Falcons steal Haynesworth away from the Tennessee Titans?

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To pay or not to pay Al: that is the question.

With less than a month remaining before the beginning of free agency, the negotiations between Albert Haynesworth and the Tennessee Titans are traveling at a snail’s pace.

If the Titans are unable to reach an agreement with Big Al, there’s one franchise that, for a variety of reasons, could end up as the winner in the lucrative Haynesworth sweepstakes.

What team, you may ask? The Atlanta Falcons.

Here are five reasons why the Falcons could become Albert Haynesworth’s next employer:

Proximity is everything

Regardless of whether it’s in Tennessee or elsewhere, Haynesworth has a strong desire to stay close to his Knoxville residence:

If he exits via free agency, he said that he wants to stay close to his home in Knoxville, meaning that Atlanta and/or Carolina could become potential landing spots.

“Either way I want to stay by my kids and stay by my house in Knoxville,” he said.

Of course, Atlanta is coveniently located a hop, skip and a jump away from the Land of the Orange.

Salary Cap $$$

According to ESPN’s NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas, the Falcons are currently $20.8 million under the salary cap. The Michael Vick situation may cause that number to decrease, but the team could easily recoup those salary cap dollars by jettisoning veterans such as Keith Brooking, Lawyer Milloy and the ageless wonder himself, Grady Jackson.

Help Wanted: Defensive Tackle

Defensive tackle is anything but a position of strength for the Falcons. Last year, Atlanta was a measly #25 against the run, allowing opponents to average 127.5 yards per game on the ground.

The aforementioned Grady Jackson is now 36 years old and may not return in 2009. Jonathan Babineaux is solid but at 285 pounds, a bit undersized. Defensive end Jamaal Anderson, who has been a bust up to this point, may be moving over to DT next year, if he is able to make the team.

Whether it’s via the draft or free agency, the Falcons will probably address DT this offseason.

The Patriots Factor

Named the NFL Executive of the Year in 2008, General Manager Thomas Dimitroff made a slew of excellent moves that led to the Falcons’ emergence as a surprise playoff team last year.

Prior to arriving in the ATL, Dimitroff was a part of the New England braintrust. Over the years, the Patriots have emphasized the importance of having a strong defensive line. Guys like Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork and Ty Warren have played huge roles on Bill Belichick’s defenses.

Dimitroff understands the impact a good defensive tackle can make, which could lead to Haynesworth being a potential target if he hits the free agent market.

Big Al+John Abraham= Scary

As a result of Grady Jackson’s pending free agency, the Falcons are in need of a guy to lineup at RDT next to RDE John Abraham.

A right side of the defensive line featuring Abraham and Haynesworth could be a scary combination.

Hopefully, the Titans and Haynesworth can agree on a contract extension before the end of next month. However, if that doesn’t occur, the Atlanta Falcons, for the reasons described above, could be Big Al’s next destination.  

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7 Responses to “Could the Falcons steal Haynesworth away from the Tennessee Titans?”

  1. Dave Says:

    Not that I want to see him go, but I remember not so long ago being really pissed off that Jevon Kearse left and we all saw how that worked out. If AH leaves, someone will fill his position, probably not his “shoes”, but his position. Jason Jones or whomever will be successful as long as we have a guy named Washburn coaching the d-line. How many “no-name” Titans have had very good years, gone into free agency, signed elsewhere, then faded into the sunset without coach Washburn’s mentoring?

  2. Andrew K Says:

    Does anyone know what the Titans Salary Cap looks like next for the 2009 season?

  3. Drexel Perry Says:

    Andrew K,
    The Titans have roughly $35 million in salary cap room:
    http://www.tennessean.com/article/20090115/SPORTS01/901150322
    Dave,
    Good point. Washburn is a guy who gets the most out of his players, so I agree that if Al departs, the Titans will find a way to hold things together at DT.
    Jason Jones and Tony Brown would probably hold down the fort at DT, with possibly a bigger DT arriving via the draft.
    Of course, I’d love to see Big Al return but if that doesn’t occur, I trust that Washburn will get his troops ready to perform.

  4. Gio Says:

    Did anyone watch the end of the regular season, when AH was out the titans did not struggle, they did perfectly fine, so if he leaves then he leaves there is no stopping it if the negotiations are going slow. we can do good without him, just not as good

  5. bobcomu Says:

    Can the defense be good without him? Yes. Can the defense be great with him? Yes. Who knows how Big Al will produce once he gets his money. But if continues his play from the last two years, I think he will, then there is just no way that his loss wouldn’t be felt through out the entire defense. I think in some ways Jason Jones’ big game against the Steelers was a bad thing, because if it got them to thinking he can be what Albert is and lowers the dollars they are willing to give Albert then they are going to make a big mistake.

  6. Dave Says:

    Bob, the front office knows exactly what they have in AH and JJ. I don’t believe they think that losing AH wouldn’t be a step backward, but they also aren’t going to give him an outrageous amount of money.
    It is my personal belief/opinion that if AH goes elsewhere, his career will end up short lived do to injury and/or lack of production. Albert is very good, but so are the guys surrounding him. Just as he makes the team better, the team makes him better. Again, look at the Jevon Kearse situation. Excellent in TN, sub-par in Philly. ( I am not comparing the talent level here between these guys and AH) Look at Antwan Odom, Randy Starks, John Thornton, etc.

  7. danga Says:

    i pray they dont sign him and he comes to the falcons. he and abe would have a feild day against opposing offensive lines.come on down to the A ah.

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