Charles Woodson missed 9-games this past season with his second broken collarbone in the last three years and today, the Green Bay Packers released the Charles Woodson veteran safety, saving more than $9.4-million on the teams salary cap. This day was coming and today’s move shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. But it’s never fun to see a player that has accomplished as much as Woodson has, have to be told he doesn’t fit in the teams plans any longer.
In his prime, Woodson was one of the top players in the game and he’s a certainty for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Woodson came to Green Bay with a reputation, considered a player that marched to his own beat. In fact, when Woodson left Oakland, nobody wanted him. Nobody but the Packers that is. 38 interceptions, 15 forced fumbles and 10 defensive touchdowns later and the Packers are glad they spent the money. Several other teams for a long time, have wished they would have.
Woodson was a vital part of a Packers team that won Super Bowl XLV in the 2010 season, establishing career highs in tackles (105) and forced fumbles (five) and becoming the first player in league history to return an interception for a touchdown in five straight seasons (2006-10). The Packers have core players to sign and they needed more salary cap space.
Woodson, who is about to turn 37-years-old in October, was clearly an easy choice for the Packers to part with. At least easy from a business standpoint. But never is it easy for a player that has produced like Woodson, not to mention become such a key figure in the locker room, to part company. Woodson’s lack of production last season, and the 6 interceptions by rookie Casey Hayward made it easier for the Packers to pull the trigger.
As cold as this process seems, it’s a business. The players make as much money as possible and when it’s time to go, it’s time to go. Is AJ Hawk next? Maybe not. Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith are both returning from injury and the Packers may want to pay Hawk the $5.45 million owed him next season for some insurance. That’ll be a decision GM Ted Thompson must still make, although he has time to do so. It’s possible the Packers would release Hawk, but wait until after June 1st to create even more cap space.