Friday, February 15, 2013

The Packers Have Released Charles Woodson

While I expected him to be asked to take a pay cut and I thought he'd be willing to re-structure his contract under the right terms, the Green Bay Packers have decided instead it was time to part ways with CB Charles Woodson.
The Packers had not discussed with him whether he'd be willing to take a pay cut, so they must have decided on their own that they could not have re-negotiated on favorable terms. Or maybe they think that their younger players like S Jerron McMillian and S M.D. Jennings had moved ahead of him on the depth chart.

Maybe they're concerned about his pair of recent collarbone injuries. He broke his during the Super Bowl in 2011 and then he broke it again in 2012. However, I don't think that's the entire story. The combination of age (he'll turn 37 next season), expense (he was scheduled to make $9 million next season), and young players currently on the roster (S Morgan Burnett, McMillian, Jennings) have all played a part in this decision.

The Packers are not an organization that hangs onto high priced veterans for backup roles. It's apparent they don't think he's worth $9 million next season, but would they have kept him for half the price if they still felt he was a full-time starter? Do they think he's not even good enough to start?

I don't have all the answers to these questions, but the fact that they didn't discuss a pay cut and made the release official late Friday, the week before a holiday next Monday, is a sign that they're trying to hide the news that they've released a popular player who should be expected to play elsewhere next season.

GM Ted Thompson had nothing but praise for Woodson in the official statement announcing his release. He's had a remarkable seven year career with the Packers, which includes four Pro Bowl appearance, he's twice been named First-Team, All-Pro, and won the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year award. That sounds like a Hall of Fame career, and it doesn't even include his four Pro Bowl appearances and his All-Pro selection in 1999 as a member of the Raiders. And his career is not over.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. This doesn't feel like the right move, Woodson still has some football left in him, but GM Ted Thompson usually makes the right call on these major roster moves. If nothing else, it's been an incredible career for Woodson, who ends his time in Green Bay as one of the greatest Packers I have ever had the chance to watch play.

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