Earlier this week, a report surfaced from Josina Anderson of FOX31 in Denver (huh?) that reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson had approached the Green Bay Packers about a new contract.
Woodson, who turns 34 on October 7, has three years left on the seven-year, $52.7 million (if he hit all the various incentives) contract he signed with Green Bay in 2006. His base salaries for the final three years (there are various incentives he can hit, as well): $7.5 million, $5.5 million and $6.5 million.
Woodson texted Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee to refute Anderson’s claims, saying he hasn’t spoken with the team at all. I doubt he has, but I’m pretty sure his agents have. And while I don’t think he’s looking for an extension, I can almost guarantee Woodson is asking for a hefty raise.
That makes perfect sense if you’re Woodson, doesn’t it?
He will never see the final year of his contract, anyways – he’ll be rapidly approaching 36 at that point - so that $6.5 million due him in 2012 likely doesn’t hold a whole lot of value in his eyes. My guess is that his agents are trying to get a good chunk of that 2012 money pushed up to this season (and, possibly, a bit tacked on to his 2011 salary). So make his salaries, say, $10 million for next season and $6.5 million for 2011. If he’s still going at 36, he’ll likely be a mere role player, so a $3 million salary will probably be okay by Woodson.
And, make no mistake, it’s going to be really difficult for the team to turn him down on this one.
First of all, Woodson is coming off the best year of his career. You can likely knock at least two wins off the 2009 total if Woodson was playing somewhere else. I’d say three, but that’s just me.
There’s also that little issue of the team’s nerve-rattling lack of depth at the position, as of now, an issue only made worse by the fact that Tramon Williams still hasn’t signed his RFA tender (more on that Friday).
And if those two factors play right into Woodson’s hands, this last one does even more so: Ted Thompson has finally starting paying up.
Thompson has dished out a total of roughly $80 million in new deals for Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, Ryan Pickett and Nick Collins this offseason. He’s taken advantage of 2010 being an uncapped year, certainly, and if he’s willing to do that, Woodson’s agents will likely ask, what’s a couple million more for a guy who was arguably your most valuable player last season?
And if that’s what they are asking the Packers for – a raise, not an extension – I think the team should definitely suck it up and hand over the money. If your ultimate goal is to win the Super Bowl this season – and it sure seems to be for this team - you want to make sure everyone is in the best head-space possible heading into camp. Paying Woodson ensures that one of your most crucial players is happy heading into one of your most crucial seasons in recent memory.
Thompson often preaches about how the Packers “take care of their own.” While he began his career somewhere else, Woodson has become such a player to the organization. That being the case, Thompson needs to add a little more to his checks.