Defensive back Charles Woodson helped the Packers win the Super Bowl two years ago
Charles Woodson was due a base salary of $6.5 million with a roster bonus of $2.5 million the first day of training camp, so it was only a matter of time before the Packers either renegotiated the future Hall of Famer’s contract or simply moved on without him. GM Ted Thompson opted for choice No. 2 on Friday.
“We are grateful for all that Charles has given to the Green Bay Packers over the past seven years,” Thompson said. “He has been an integral part of the Packers’ success and our Super Bowl title in 2010 would not have been possible without his contributions. A once-in-a-generation talent as a player, he is also a great leader and ambassador for the organization off the field. Charles will always be a member of the Packers family and we look forward to his eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
How do I feel about this decision? Well, here’s the first paragraph of a post I starting writing a few days ago: ”Charles Woodson and A.J. Hawk need to be released, and it’s not because of the $16 million the two veterans are scheduled to make in 2013. Truth is, I would advocate getting rid of both players even if their combined salaries were $1.6 million. Why? Because the defense won’t get substantially better next season by holding on to a slightly above-average inside linebacker and a clearly descending safety.”
Woodson played in only seven games this past season due to a broken collarbone. Prior to the injury, the 36-year-old was performing decently in his first season at safety, but even the change in positions couldn’t hide his rapidly diminishing physical skills. While Woodson was still physical against the run, he had little explosiveness as a blitzer, his range was just adequate and his man-cover skills were limited.
As of today, M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian are the front-runners to replace Woodson at safety in 2013. Of the two, McMillian has the much bigger upside. While the former Maine star made too many mental mistakes in an up-and-down rookie season, he did flash intriguing potential. He runs well and he loves to hit, and those are two things you can’t say about many other members of the defense. The position could also be bolstered in the next couple of months by either a veteran free agent or a draft choice.