Is Charles Woodson an option for the San Francisco 49ers?

By Brandon Burnett
Charles Woodson San Francisco 49ers
Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports

The Green Bay Packers will release veteran defensive back Charles Woodson after seven years with the team, a source familiar with the situation has told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. A former Heisman Trophy winner, Super Bowl champion, seven-time NFL All-Pro and 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Woodson has just about done it all.

At age 36, Woodson doesn’t have a lot of football left in him, but it sounds like he’s not calling it quits yet. And while his physical capabilities aren’t what they once were, the 15-year veteran is going to bring loads of experience, knowledge and leadership to whatever organization he ends up with. Naturally, he’s going to want to make sure that organization is one capable of competing for a Super Bowl sooner than later.

Keeping that in mind, are the San Francisco 49ers an option for Woodson? If so, should Trent Baalke and Co. pursue the soon-to-be free agent?

Of course, the Niners may not even be in search of a free-agent defensive back to begin with. For one, they typically aren’t big players in free agency, anyway. Plus, even at a discounted rate, Woodson may prove to be a pricey haul. He was set to make $9 million in 2013 alone with Green Bay.

On the other side, Pro Bowl free safety Dashon Goldson is a free agent and expects to be rewarded for his solid play. He’s looking for a long-term deal and likely one that will pay him anywhere from $7 to $10 million per season. If the 49ers and Goldson can’t reach an agreement to keep him in San Francisco, his departure will create a pretty significant void in the secondary.

Woodson isn’t going to be making $9 million a year for his new team, either. If he was worth that, he’d probably be staying in Green Bay. So, there’s a chance the 49ers can get their hands on a former NFL DPOY and Super Bowl winner and be paying him less in 2013 than they would be giving Goldson. Being legitimate contenders, they already have a leg up on many potential suitors.

Woodson missed nine regular season games in 2012, but is generally a very durable defender. Capable of playing both cornerback and safety, he’s also extremely versatile. And you don’t need me to tell you the guy is a pure playmaker.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh isn’t shy about bringing in veteran help on short-term contracts, either. And while it may not ever play a role, Harbaugh and Woodson share the same alma mater, the University of Michigan. Harbaugh is well aware of Woodson’s accomplishments both in Ann Arbor and the NFL.

Entering the 2013 season, the Niners will be in Super Bowl or bust mode. At 36, Woodson is pretty much in the same boat. Whether or not the two parties want to chase a championship together is yet to be seen, but the option is an intriguing one and will likely warrant mention throughout the off-season, or at least until Woodson finds a new NFL city to call home.

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