Redskins stimulus package tops 150 million
Talk of the economic downturn may be all the rage in the nation’s capital, but Dan Snyder apparently isn’t buying it.
Perhaps it’s because the owner of the Washington Redskins was too busy buying everything else, as Snyder’s team made the biggest splash on the opening day of free agency in the NFL.
Snyder jumped in with both feet, lavishing the richest contract ever for a defensive player when the Redskins agreed to terms on a seven-year, $100 million deal with mammoth tackle Albert Haynesworth.
The prize jewel of this year’s free-agent class, Haynesworth is the first non-quarterback to receive a seven-figure contract. The deal reportedly includes $41 million in guaranteed money.
“Albert is a difference maker and his physical presence will strengthen our defense,” Redskins head coach Jim Zorn said. “He is a significant addition to our team and we are excited to have a player of his ability and toughness as a member of the Redskins.”
Haynesworth and the Redskins reached an agreement about 5 1/2 hours after the free agency period began at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
Earlier Friday, Washington also signed free-agent DeAngelo Hall to a six-year deal worth a maximum of $55 million.
The 27-year-old Haynesworth had a career-high 8 1/2 sacks and earned All-Pro honors for the second straight season with the Tennessee Titans last season. His 14 1/2 sacks the past two seasons led all defensive tackles.
Haynesworth anchored a defense that allowed the second-fewest points in the league last season en route to an NFL-best 13-3 record.
“What you can expect of me is what you saw with Tennessee the last two years,” Haynesworth said. “You’re not going to remember Albert Haynesworth as a bust. You’re going to remember him as a great player.”
Haynesworth was not the only stellar defensive player to switch teams. The New York Jets won a daylong tug-of-war with the Baltimore Ravens to land the services of linebacker Bart Scott, agreeing to terms on a reported six-year, $48 million deal with the seven-year veteran.
The Jets had reached an agreement with Scott early Friday, only to see the linebacker give his former employer a chance to match the contract.
The Ravens reportedly topped the Jets’ initial offer before New York finally landed Scott, reuniting him with new head coach Rex Ryan, for whom he starred in Baltimore.
The New England Patriots, an AFC East rival of the Jets, also snagged a big name with the signing of former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor to a two-year deal.
Taylor, 33, spent his entire career with Jacksonville, rushing for 11,271 yards and 62 touchdowns in 11 seasons. He ranks 16th on the career rushing list.
“I have tremendous respect for Fred Taylor, both as a person and as a player whose production is outstanding,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said. “I look forward to working with Fred as he joins the rest of our running back group.”
Quarterback Kerry Collins decided to stay with the Tennessee Titans, agreeing to a two-year contract worth a reported $15 million.
Collins, 36, threw for 2,676 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season in leading the Titans to a league-best 13-3 mark and the AFC South title.
“Kerry did a great job for us last year stepping back into the starting role,” Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said. “He has veteran leadership, tons of game experience and we expect him to continue to play at a high level for us.”
Among the other notable moves were the New Orleans Saints re-signing linebacker Jonathan Vilma to a reported five-year deal and the Ravens agreeing to a four-year contract with former Atlanta Falcons cornerback Domonique Foxworth.
The Denver Broncos were the busiest team, bringing in running backs Correll Buckhalter and J.J. Arrington, wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and long snapper Lonie Paxton.
There also were a couple of trades. The Minnesota Vikings acquired quarterback Sage Rosenfels from the Houston Texans for a fourth-round draft pick, while the Patriots sent veteran linebacker Mike Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs for an undisclosed draft pick.