Packers, Woodson part ways

16 Feb
Charles Woodson

Charles Woodson was released by the Packers today. Credit: jerseyal.com

Ted Thompson has never been one to make sentimental decisions during his time with the Packers. Just over a week since Donald Driver’s retirement party, the Packers have cut ties with another one of the franchise’s most beloved players, Defensive Back Charles Woodson.

Thompson signed Woodson as a free agent in 2006. After Woodson was cut from the Oakland Raiders, his character was in question. Despite the criticism, Thompson decided to give Woodson a chance. It paid off.

During his seven seasons with the Packers, Woodson was one of the team’s leaders. He was named to the Pro Bowl four consecutive seasons, from 2008 through 2011, and was named AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, joining Reggie White as the only Packer to receive the honor.

Woodson holds the franchise record for most defensive touchdowns with 10 and is fourth in franchise history with 38 interceptions. He’s one of those players that quarterbacks around the league have to be aware of.

Jay Cutler knows what I’m talking about.

Woodson was arguably the best free agent acquisition in Packers history. Yes, even more than White. Don’t be surprised to see his name in the Packers Ring of Honor someday. Not only that, Woodson is sure to end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Perhaps more impressive than his statistics was Woodson’s ability to inspire those around him and lead by example.

Who can forget Woodson’s legendary speech after the 2010 NFC Championship Game? Woodson made a promise to the president that the Packers would be making travel plans to see him at the White House after they won Super Bowl XLV. He kept his promise. He was an integral part in the Packers Super Bowl run that season.

The list of accolades goes on, but let’s not get caught up in the sentiment of this decision. After all, there’s still a business side of things. Cutting Woodson provides the Packers with an additional $10 million in salary cap space, giving them more flexibility to prepare for future contracts with core players, including Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji. Tough decisions must be made. But now is the time to do so.

Woodson can still play. There’s no doubt about it. He has plenty of gas left in the tank, and I have no doubts that he will be a great asset on another team for at least a couple more years. He may even win another Super Bowl before he hangs up the cleats. With a plethora of young talent on the rise in the Packers secondary – Sam Shields, Davon House, Casey Hayward, and M.D. Jennings – letting go of Woodson to clear cap space was the right decision. Simply put, the Packers aren’t the best fit for an aging defensive back, especially for $10 million.

Woodson found a home in Green Bay, and I’m sure I speak for Packers fans everywhere when I thank him for all he’s done for the organization, on and off the field. Thompson says Woodson will “always be a member of the Packers family.” But it’s time to move on.

So, once you see Woodson suited up in another team’s colors, try not to get too attached to the sentiment. It’s just good business.

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2 Responses to “Packers, Woodson part ways”

  1. Brian Becker February 16, 2013 at 1:54 am #

    enjoyed your post Chris. I remember when they signed him before the draft and I was really excited that they signed him because Thompson doesn’t build his team through free agency he does it through the draft. But i knew with the addition of Woodson and it looked like at the time the Packers were going to take Hawk with the fifth pick in the draft which came true. But I was pretty excited about the future of the Packers defense with Woodson being at cornerback and Hawk starting at linebacker. If I’m correct I’m pretty sure Jennings was drafted in the second round that year. But I forgot about Woodson’s character concerns when he was in Oakland but he was nothing but a model citizen in Green Bay. But I guess not being in Oakland and winning helps. Woodson will definitely sign somewhere this offseason. What do you think of New England possibly signing him? I know the Patriots are interested in Ed Reed but if Reed resigns with Baltimore. Woodson might be a good fit for the Pats.

    • cjohannsen22 February 16, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Considering Woodson’s on the decline and nearing the end of his career, he has no choice but to join a contender if he wants one last shot at another Super Bowl. New England has most of the pieces in place, and that’s where I think he’ll end up as well.

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