Free agent defensive back Charles Woodson is meeting with the San Francisco 49ers Wednesday as the team continues to seek out a replacement for free safety Dashon Goldson, who is expected to ink a long-term deal elsewhere. The soon-to-be 37-year-old missed nine games in 2012 due to a broken collarbone and doesn’t have much left in the tank, but he’s still capable of bringing plenty of value to any secondary in the league.
That’s exactly why the Niners need to do everything they can to make this happen.
San Fran’s front office is making it clear they’re searching for veterans who provide experience and leadership. Already a clear Super Bowl contender heading into the 2013 season, Trent Baalke and Co. know all too well what they need to get this team over the hump and hoist the Lombardi Trophy. That’s one of the reasons they traded for 32-year-old WR Anquan Boldin.
Ed Reed remains a potential option to fill the void at safety, and would be a great one at that, but Woodson brings too much to the table for anyone in their right mind to turn him down at an affordable price. He’s won a Super Bowl, was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and won a Heisman Trophy back in his days as a Michigan Wolverine, which just happens to be Jim Harbaugh‘s alma mater.
Woodson’s recent injury raises durability concerns, but prior to that injury, he hadn’t missed more than two games in any season since 2006. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio does a great job of mixing up his defensive schemes to keep opposing offenses on their heels and Woodson’s versatility only makes it that much easier. He’s played both corner and safety in his career and done both at an extremely high level. He’s currently 19th on the NFL‘s all-time interceptions list with 55 as well.
I wrote back in mid-February that Woodson may be an option for the Red and Gold should Goldson leave via free agency. Now I’m beginning to wonder if it’s only a matter of time before the veteran DB signs on the dotted line.