Posted May 22, 2013

Charles Woodson’s decision may have been about more than money

Oakland Raiders
Charles Woodson has 55 interceptions and 17 sacks in his career. (Morry Gash/AP)

Charles Woodson has 55 interceptions and 17 sacks in his career. (Morry Gash/AP)

Money. That can be the only reason that 36-year-old Charles Woodson opted to sign with the rebuilding Oakland Raiders over the Super Bowl contending Denver Broncos, right? Woodson’s Oakland contract reportedly will be worth a maximum of $4.3 million in 2013; the Broncos offered $3.7 million, per the Denver Post. Who wouldn’t want an extra $600,000? (Even if California taxes and living expenses might erase those gains.)

So that has to be it. Money. Not that Woodson enjoyed his time in Oakland from 1998-2005 or that he saw the opportunity for more playing time with the Raiders than he would have had with the Broncos or that he has a solid relationship with former Packers director player of personnel-turned-Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie.

Nah, had to be the $600K and nothing else for a player who’s made millions upon millions in his NFL career.

Come on, can we just step back and give the Raiders at least a tiny iota of credit here? I realize that’s a bit of an odd request, given how that franchise has bumbled its way through the past decade — Oakland has not made the playoffs since 2002 (the fifth of eight seasons Woodson spent in silver and black after being the No. 4 overall pick in 1998) and has won more than five games just twice in the past 10 years.

But as the Broncos seemed to inch closer to the top of the NFL this offseason by adding, among others, Wes Welker and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, McKenzie rather quietly has done very solid work laying the groundwork for an improved Raiders team.

Woodson will compete with (and ought to beat out) free-agent signing Usama Young for the free safety role, making him one of nine new starters on the Oakland defense.

The money is nice, sure, but Woodson also could step into the mix as an every-down player — something Denver may not have been willing to offer — and as a much-needed veteran presence on a reworked defense. All that, plus the love shown to him by a throng of Raiders fans who awaited his arrival at team headquarters on Tuesday, might have meant more to Woodson than another paycheck.

“To be honest, I didn’t even know how to react to it,” Woodson told Raiders.com of the fan turnout. “I had heard they were gonna do it, but you really don’t know if it’s gonna happen. But to drive up here today and see all the fans yelling and excited that I’m back, that means a lot.”

“I can’t wait. I can’t wait to go to work, I can’t wait to put that silver and black jersey back on and help this team win.”

I’m not naive. The $4.3 million Woodson could make in base salary and incentives surely caught his attention and aided his decision. Players frequently play teams’ front offices against each other to create bidding wars, then choose the highest available contract.

Woodson no doubt did that, at least to some extent, forcing the Raiders to up the ante on Denver’s offer. So, yea, maybe Woodson just waited as long as he could for the richest possible deal, then signed on the dotted line.

Before we just brush this whole situation off as a player chasing the money, though, perhaps we can give the Raiders a little credit for once. Both to improve their current roster and give their fans a little bit of a jolt, McKenzie set his sights on Woodson. That he landed the likely future Hall of Famer is a boon for the franchise.

And it is possible, no matter how hard it might be to process, that this is exactly what Woodson wanted, too.

30 comments
ianlinross
ianlinross

Woodson's decision more about money? Gee, ya think? 

RobertSmith
RobertSmith

I will believe it is "not the money" when a player signs for less money.  It is easy to suggest a motive other than money, but $600,000 is $600,000 and he chose to play for a team that will go into the season with lower expectations than the Broncos.  I don't believe ANY player thinks the Raiders are closer to winning than Denver is.  It was the money.

AmandaMason
AmandaMason

he is a great player.  sad he had to leave green bay but if its going to be better for him good.  

BunkyB
BunkyB

He's a great team player, but his days at GB were numbered. I personally think he lost had a step or two(as we all do when we get older), now he can be more of a team leader to the younger guys. I enjoyed watching him as a Packer for years and wish him the best of luck. Hope he pans out for you guys.   Go Packers!

Diablo
Diablo

I HATE this move by Reggie, mostly because Woodson went out of his way to kick the Raiders when he was with a better team and they were obviously VERY much down for the count!! He spoke badly about the Raiders as an organization AND AL Davis as an owner - just about every time he had a camera in front of him, once he was free of Oakland, which imo is simply NOT cool and shows he is NOT the greatest of human beings!! Al Davis would NOT agree with this move either and is surely rolling over in his grave imo! If Woodson had simply moved on once he left Oakland and NOT said so many negative things about the team that drafted him and paid him generously, I would be fine with this move, even though he will NOT bring all that much to the table at his age and at a NEW position!! This is the worst move made by RM so far and I hope to see him outplayed by Young and ALL of the CB's on the roster, so he is mired back in the depth chart, get's real mad about it, and shows the Raider Nation what they have OBVIOUSLY forgotten, since he will not be able to keep his mouth shut about it!! Sorry to hate on him so much, but I don't forget and neither should any of the folks who think Woodson is a great guy, when he simply isn't!! Also, only the Raiders would forgive a jerk like Woodson and THEN pay him more than a MUCH smarter team in the donkey's would; looks like the mentality we are trying to shake hasn't quite left the Raiders way of thinking just yet. We could have added a MUCH better veteran for the secondary than a guy who PROUDLY kicked us when we were at our lowest!!!

Ken P
Ken P

@Diablo  If that's how you feel about Woodson, then how did you feel when Marcus Allen lit the torch for Al Davis?  Not only did Allen bad mouth the organization, he went on to play for our most hated rival.  We have to face the facts that in his later years, Al pissed off a lot of our best players and drove people away from our team.  It's time to move on and put the past behind us.

AmandaMason
AmandaMason

@Diablo if thats how you feel about woodson what about when favre (spelling) pulled what he did to the packers..........  and to think they are willing to retire his number this year so he can be retired as a packer!

Mortis37
Mortis37

AND it wasnt Al that caused to blow up between he and Marcus - Al said he was a cancer on the team so I have a feeling he was running with the wrong people.

Mortis37
Mortis37

@Ken P @Diablo  yeah, wasn't real happy with Marcus slinking back into the fold after Al was gone - he needs to keep a low profile about the Raiders imo

JaymeeStahrr
JaymeeStahrr

Whenever they say "It's not about the money", it's about the money! You better believe.

jojomogir
jojomogir

Couldn't it just be that he figures if he's going to go through the grind of training camp and practice all season that he wants to actually play in the games?  Since the Raider deal only becomes $4.3MM if he hits incentives, and he's already made a lot, money isn't the whole reason.

drudown
drudown like.author.displayName 1 Like

The NFL is a business; even the longest career is short. It is 99% about the money and why waste ink conditioning the public otherwise?

yummypeaches
yummypeaches like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@drudown Because Charles Woodson has made a lot money and is wrapping up his career . I really believe seeing loving fans waiting on your arrival  and the I idea of coming full circle really appealed to him . Also Reggie McKenzie is really setting a solid foundation in place . As far as I'm concerned they have been the most exciting team to follow this off season . BTW I'm a falcons fan .



bornindetroit
bornindetroit like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

I assume he did the numbers as far as playoff dollars, bonuses, and state income taxes... It is in fact about the $$$. How cavalier for those without the millions to say it isn't about the $. It is.

TimCasto
TimCasto like.author.displayName 1 Like

MORE THEN MONEY WAS AT STAKE BUT IT WAS A FACTOR FROM US N IN HIS BUISNESS ADVENTURES THAT THE RAIDER NATION NOW WILL ALWAYS SUPPORT

TimCasto
TimCasto

NOT JUST THE MONEY FROM US BUT LONG TERM BUISNESS HAD TO BE INVOLVED

gary41
gary41

That's pretty much what I was referring to.....thanks

David G
David G like.author.displayName 1 Like

I hope that the raiders fans are not expecting the CW of old this year.  He is an old CW, smarter, much slower and more brittle.  Sometimes these going home again for professional athletes is better accomplished by signing a one day deal and retiring. 

Ken P
Ken P like.author.displayName 1 Like

@David GI see Woodson as taking on more of a leadership role.  We have a lot of young players on defense and we could use someone like him to show them how it's done.

Diablo
Diablo

@David G AND Woodson went out of his way to kick the Raiders as soon as he was free of Oakland and on a MUCH better team and Oakland was easily at or near their lowest!! I didn't want this move to happen and I HATE that it did! Imo Al Davis would NOT have forgotten Woodson's remarks concerning our beloved team (no matter how long ago it was) and would surely NOT want to resign him at this point, especially at a higher price than what one of their main rivals were willing to pay!! OK maybe Al would have paid too much, which was always an issue with him, but NOT for a player who kicked him and his team when they were down and he was NOT!!!

Mortis37
Mortis37

It is a good signing. I loved Al and the Raiders since the mid 70s but Al was slipping in the 21st century (not dissing him - he is a huge reason the NFL is here today) so what Al would want now is immaterial. Al would have also wanted the fastest player at the combine whether he could catch or not (DHB). The fact is we need Woodson back atm and he wants to be here - a detail that cannot be overstated. I am tired of players who don't want to play for the Raiders getting a chance to drain our money and not put forth any passion at game time. My best day (even better than resigning Woodson) was dumping those bums Mclain and Seymore. It is quite literally the begining of a new era in Oakland and if the Woodson signing pi$$es you off so much you might as well pick a new team - there is a new sheriff in town.

DanaBunner
DanaBunner

@David G He was such a great player for the Packers.  But this past year he slipped a lot.  He will still make the occasional big play.  Stuff someone on a run, force a fumble, stick a receiver, bat a pass away, make an interception.  But he can't stay with receivers, he's lost a step or two.  For every big play last year, there were 3 or 4 bad plays.  He's a great team player.  I wish him well.  

Mortis37
Mortis37 like.author.displayName 1 Like

no, we know what we are getting for probably 2 mil max, and if he earns the whole 4.3, it will be a pro bowl season for him and still worth the money.

Hmmm
Hmmm

That's okay!  Now he can get stomped by Peyton and the rest of the Broncos twice a year.  Go Broncos!

Mortis37
Mortis37

@Hmmm and if you keep up the stomping for another decade you'll almost have a winning record against us - GO RAIDERS!

gary41
gary41

Woodson was thinking about after his career is over....

Mortis37
Mortis37

@gary41  

While there is certainly some of that in his decision, it could also be about paying back Al and the organization by helping at a critical time. We need his experience,  but he could have easily chased another ring. Wanting to come help out speaks to his character and the type of team Reggie is putting together. Good player or not, if C-Wood was only about the money, I don't think Reggie signs him.

Diablo
Diablo

@Mortis37 @gary41 You do remember all the negative remarks Woodson went out of his way to shout to anyone who would listen, once he was done with Oakland and with a MUCH better team, right?! Woodson showed he has NO character by all those hateful remarks, and for kicking us when we were down and he was up, at least imo - when it comes to my Raiders I tend to get really pissed when folks hate on them!! Reggie truly screwed the pooch with this move though, his worst move as our GM really (which is a good thing at least) but apparently the Raider Nation has forgotten all the ill will Woodson was so eager to spew our way once he left Oakland! I for one have NOT forgotten though and I will not root for him to even be a starter, since I did NOT want this move to even happen, much less see him back wearing the silver & black!! I get that Reggie doesn't care about all this - like a long time Raider fan as myself does, since he was probably a Packer with Woodson and it did happen years ago but he should have at least not paid as much to get him! If anything,, to show the veteran his past remarks can come back and haunt him, even if it's only a monetary lesson!! I'm mystified how so many fans would not remember the way he treated us and our team, even if it's been awhile really!!