When rumors drifted through the air that the Oakland Raiders were considering signing former-Raider and free agent cornerback Charles Woodson, fans had a flurry of mixed emotions.
On one hand, fans wanted the guy who started his career in Oakland to come back and play some of his final snaps of football in a Raiders jersey again. On the other hand, Woodson can be seen as a washed-up veteran who will only distract the Raiders from their monumental goal of rebuilding.
However, on Tuesday afternoon, it all become official. Reports broke out that the Raiders had agreed to a one-year deal with the legendary cornerback and all the fans that waited outside of the Raiders headquarters to greet him must have felt very relieved.
Does signing Woodson help or hinder the Raiders?
That shouldn’t even be a question.
Yes, Woodson is old, and yes, he is heading towards the end of his career. But does that mean that the Raiders should not have inked him to a non-risky one-year contract?
A 14-year veteran, Woodson was drafted by the Raiders and spent eight seasons in Oakland before moving on to Green Bay. He was the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1998.
He has received numerous accolades throughout his career as an eight-time Pro Bowler, seven-time All-Pro member and Super Bowl champion. Woodson was also the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2009. He has 55 career interceptions, 17 sacks, 24 forced fumbles and 11 interception returns for touchdowns in 206 career games. Woodson also helped lead the Green Bay Packers to a Super Bowl victory not too long ago.
A big reason why the signing of Woodson makes sense for the Raiders is simply everything that he brings to the table. He will be filling in a hole in the defense at the free safety position, as Pro Bowl safety Michael Huff left the Raiders to play for the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Replacing Huff with Woodson will be great for the Raiders and their defense, and it will definitely give them some insurance.
The Raiders also signed free safety Usama Young earlier in the offseason, so he will be able to learn and develop under the future Hall of Famer. Speaking of mentoring, can you think of a better defensive back to come to the Raiders to help tutor their first-round draft pick D.J. Hayden?
Hayden, the Raiders 12th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft and a very promising prospect, should be able to make huge leaps and strides while playing alongside Woodson. Veterans can always teach the newcomers a lot about the league and the do’s and dont’s, let alone how to play the position at a highly successful rate. That statement is especially true when the veteran that you’re learning from is one of the best defensive backs to ever play in the NFL.
I don’t know about you, but a defensive secondary featuring Tracy Porter, Mike Jenkins, D.J. Hayden, Tyvon Branch, and Charles Woodson sounds like a pretty legitimate one to me. It will be very interesting to see how all these guys play together and if they are able to perform at a highly-competitive level for the entire season.
People will always have their doubts about the Raiders, and even if they are not thought to win many games this season, Reggie McKenzie deserves a huge pat on the back for the job he has done this offseason, especially with the latest signing of outstanding defensive back Charles Woodson.