Read here. First Driver, now apparently Charles Woodson. It seems sure that Woodson will be released. On paper, his release makes some sense. He has been injured often in recent years and he was set to count $10 mil against the cap this coming year. He’s also 36 and slower and not as quick as he once was. And, there is some young talent that may need spots to open up so they can get their opportunities.
But where this may hurt the most is his presence. Woodson is a leader – a credible leader young guys respect. He is a true professional dedicated to his craft and he has been an absolutely stellar role model for younger players ever since joining the Packer family. Veteran “presence” is an intangible benefit that is difficult to quantify but his departure will leave a leadership void in the secondary. Even when he was injured over the past few years, he was around and maintained his “presence”. Tramon Williams suddenly becomes the “veteran” guy – and he’s coming off a 2nd consecutive questionable year. (Fortunately, Tramon has learned from Woodson how to lead via example etc, but I just don’t think he has the capacity to be the same kind of leader.) Yes, Hayward and House being there make me feel a little better about the succession plan, but I still worry about the veteran leadership void on the defense.
Despite slowing down a bit, it’s hard to imagine Woodson not moving on to help a team somewhere given he’s just a couple years removed from one of the most impressive defensive seasons any DB has had in a long time.
In the end, these are really difficult decisions to make. I think TT’s strength (and sometimes weakness) is being able to make cold, calculated decisions about personnel. But this can be a weakness at times too because I believe his pro-youth bias has left a few of his teams lacking in the veteran leadership department – and this can be a missing factor for taking a team to another level (see Ray Lewis). In the end, if I were GM, I probably would have asked Woodson to take a substantial pay cut in an effort to keep him around for another year. But it sounds a little like Woodson may not have been willing to entertain this option – so I guess I may have cut him too.
As GM – what would you have done?