Haynesworth can become unrestricted free agent

Updated: December 17, 2008, 5:05 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Tuesday's recognition of Albert Haynesworth as one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL could come at a steep price for the Tennessee Titans.

When Haynesworth was named to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday, it triggered a clause in his contract guaranteeing he can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

The Titans had agreed to four conditions under which they would agree not to place the franchise player tag on Haynesworth. A second straight Pro Bowl appearance was one of those four triggers.

That doesn't mean Haynesworth is automatically out the door: The Titans still have exclusive negotiating rights with him until Feb. 27. But he's free to talk to other teams after that date.

Haynesworth's agent, Chad Speck, said now is not the time to discuss his client's future, according to The (Nashville) Tennessean.

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"I am just excited for Albert that he made the Pro Bowl and he is certainly deserving of it,'' Speck said, according to the report. "Right now I know he is clearly focused on trying to get healthy and making it back for the playoff run. I think the contract stuff will take care of itself at the end of the season.''

Haynesworth made his case for a spot in the Pro Bowl with a team-high 8.5 sacks and 75 tackles this season. He sprained his knee on Sunday and will miss the Titans' final two regular-season games, but is expected to return for the playoffs.

Haynesworth, 27, would likely draw great interest in the free-agent market. The 6-foot-6, 320-pound defensive tackle has 91 tackles and 14.5 sacks in the past two years. In seven NFL seasons, all in Tennessee, he has 271 career tackles -- 199 of them solo -- and 24 sacks.

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