NFL conducts Haynesworth tampering probe

The NFL has formally opened an investigation into charges by the Tennessee Titans that the Washington Redskins tampered with defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth(notes) before the start of free agency in February, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

The NFL has interviewed at least two people associated with the situation after the Titans complained to the league in April that the Redskins contacted Haynesworth and agent Chad Speck before the start of free agency on Feb. 27.

Haynesworth signed a seven-year, $100 million contract with the Redskins which includes $41 million guaranteed.

If it’s proved that the Redskins contacted Haynesworth too early, the team could lose a draft pick. In the 2008 draft, San Francisco lost a fifth-round pick after the league found that the 49ers had tampered with Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs(notes) during the 2007 season when San Francisco was pondering a trade for Briggs.

As for Haynesworth, the Titans have claimed that their efforts to negotiate with Haynesworth after the 2008 season were hindered by tampering.

Speck and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello declined to comment on the situation.

Jason Cole is a national NFL writer for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Jason a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated Saturday, May 23, 2009