Packers DB Charles Woodson Released: Where Should He Land?
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: February 15, 2013
Friday saw the first high profile release of 2013, as the Green Bay Packers parted ways with veteran defensive back Charles Woodson. The 1997 Heisman winner and 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year spent much of the 2012 season sidelined with a collar bone injury and would have cost the Packers $10 million in cap space next season; both were likely factors in the front office's decision.
The obvious question revolves around which team will swoop in on the fifteen-year veteran. He's certainly in the autumn of his career, but Woodson is still perceived as a potentially valuable asset who could help complete an NFL secondary. It sounds as though he will be choosy in terms of his destination, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport:
Released DB Charles Woodson's agent Carl Poston: "He'd like to go play for a contender, win another Super Bowl. He caught that bug."— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 15, 2013
Let's play matchmaker for a quick second. I decided to take a look at playoff teams from 2012 that could benefit from Woodson's presence. There are a handful of teams that prevented opposing quarterbacks from prolific passing, but either failed to notch interceptions or allowed a high number of touchdown passes. Each of these teams could ostensibly have more pressing needs or cap issues of their own, but I'm just going to blatantly disregard them for he purposes of this experiment.
Denver Broncos: In 2012, the Denver secondary allowed an NFL third-fewest 199.6 yards a game, but an NFL 15th-most 25 touchdowns. Its 16 interceptions was tied for 13th-most in the league. Denver's most glaring coverage issues were exposed at home in the playoffs by Baltimore's Joe Flacco, who torched the Broncos' defensive backs for three long touchdowns, including a 70-yard scoring bomb to Jacoby Jones with less than 40 seconds in regulation. Woodson averaged 16.25 passes defensed and 6.25 interceptions from 2008-2011. His intelligent play at safety could help put Denver over the top.
New England Patriots: The advent of cornerback Aqib Talib prior to the 2012 trade deadline looked like it would help the Patriots turn the corner defensively. The injury of Talib against Baltimore in the AFC Championship (and Flacco's subsequent exploitation of his absence), exposed a glaring dearth of depth in the secondary. Woodson says he wants to compete for a contender. No team has been more consistently in the Super Bowl conversation in the past ten years than the Patriots.
Washington Redskins: The Redskins established a dominant defensive front, even without starters Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the vast majority of the season. Its secondary left much to be desired, allowing 281.9 passing yards per game and 31 touchdowns. Veteran leadership in the form of Woodson could make a huge difference in 2012.
Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta's secondary was hit or miss last season. For every three interception half against Denver's Peyton Manning, there was a 353-yard performance relinquished to Oakland's Carson Palmer. Strong safety William Moore is slated to enter free agency in March. If Atlanta thinks it can't retain Moore, Woodson could provide a consistent, reliable presence to mesh with the talents of Thomas DeCoud, Asante Samuel and Dunta Robinson.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @KimOHaraTFG
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