Charles Woodson’s career started with the Oakland Raiders. Should it end with them as well?
It’s been eight years since Woodson donned the silver and black. Now on the backend of his NFL career, though, the 36-year-old veteran has lowered his standards in an effort to land a new contract heading into 2013. Could joining the Raiders be a way for Woodson to extend his playing days?
One connection that could orchestrate a deal is between Woodson and Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, who was the Director of Player Personnel with the Green Bay Packers from 1994 to 2011. McKenzie got to know Woodson when they were both with the Packers, and knows that the aging veteran still has something left in the tank. Adding the former Raiders first-round pick would be a big move for McKenzie PR-wise as well.
Currently slated as the Raiders starting free safety is free-agent acquisition Usama Young, a career spot-starter who’s better fit as a backup and special teamer. While he’s been a decent safety for the Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints, the Raiders’ subpar secondary doesn’t have the talent to disguise his shortcomings. Allowing Young to learn behind Woodson instead of starting would be beneficial for all parties involved.
Above all, Woodson would bring leadership and a veteran presence to the Raiders’ young defensive backfield. After using their 2013 first-round pick on cornerback D.J. Hayden, Oakland needs a seasoned veteran to help the youngster acclimate to life in the NFL. Woodson would be a tremendous mentor for Hayden and the rest of the Raiders’ inexperienced secondary.
The Raiders signed 33-year-old defensive end Andre Carter this offseason, proving that age isn’t a deal-breaker when considering free agents. Plus, aside from injuries, Woodson has seen his fair share of success in recent seasons, so the value is still there.
Woodson is one of the best defensive players that the NFL has ever seen. Returning to Oakland and starring as the Raiders’ starting free safety would be a great sendoff.