The cornerback turned safety had a very productive season for the Oakland Raiders in 2013. In fact, he was more productive than either one of Green Bay’s safeties. The living legend posted 97 total tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception and defended three passes.
Woodson got paid just $1 million this past season, and the Packers certainly won’t lose anything by giving him a similar contract in 2014. What he will bring to the team will far outweigh the approximate $1 million the organization would pay him.
The biggest reason why Green Bay must sign Woodson is because of the leadership he clearly brings to the team. Make no mistake about it. Woodson was a huge reason why the Packers were able to march their way through the 2011 postseason and win Super Bowl XLV. Sure, the play of Aaron Rodgers was off the charts, and Woodson will be the first person to say that the quarterback is the reason Green Bay hoisted the Lombardi trophy. However, Woodson’s unmatched leadership skills are something the Packers desperately missed this past season.
Green Bay doesn’t have one single player that has been able to fill the void left by Woodson as far as a leader on the defensive side of the ball is concerned. Clay Matthews hasn’t got the job done nor has Tramon Williams. Obviously, both players let their play do the leading, but Woodson was able to do it verbally and physically on the field, which is what the Packers need.
I understand this is all talk and just one man’s opinion. If you want, I’ll back it up with some much-needed facts.
Safeties Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings were targeted 60 times in 2013 in which they allowed 46 passes to be completed for 612 yards, 9 touchdowns and a dismal 148.1 passer rating. Even worse, Burnett was the only safety in the NFL who played for at least 900 snaps and didn’t record a single interception, while Jennings was the only safety in the league who suited up for 800 snaps and didn’t defend one pass. On top of that, neither of them forced a fumble.
The safety position is the last line of defense. More specifically, it is the job of the safeties to create turnovers and break up passes. Of course, Burnett and Jennings were unable to accomplish either. The two combined for the worst safety tandem in the NFL, which makes one wonder why Green Bay’s pass defense was so horrid.
The sole reason why the Packers won’t sign Woodson is because of general manager Ted Thompson. His reason will have nothing to do with cost or the fact that he was the man who elected to cut ties with Woodson. It will all come down to development. If Woodson suits up at safety, or another defensive back position for that matter, it will take time away from developing another player. Basically, Thompson doesn’t want to halt the development of any single player for another player who will most likely retire in a year or two, especially when that player is not currently on the roster.
I appreciate where Thompson will be coming from. However, the reality is the business of football is championships. Woodson back on the squad will give Green Bay a better chance of clinching another Super Bowl title than what the Packers put on the field in 2013. On top of everything else, the locker room would erupt with the addition of Woodson, as morale would reach a high it has not seen in quite some time on defense.
The Packers need to take some chances in free agency this offseason, which is something Thompson doesn’t exactly comprehend. Ironically, the last time he took a big chance was when he signed Woodson in 2006. Clearly, that worked out well for everyone involved.