When They Release Charles Woodson, Packers Are Still in Good Shape at Safety

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 05:  Safety Charles Woodson #21 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after the Packers 24-10 victory against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 5, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The end of Charles Woodson's career as a Packer is upon us, as the longtime Green Bay defensive back was released by the team Friday afternoon, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Woodson remains happy with his time in Green Bay and knows getting released is all part of being in the NFL.

While it may not be what Packers fans wish to hear, ultimately, his absence won't cause a huge ripple for the team going into 2013.

When I first heard (per Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk) that the Packers were preparing to release Woodson, I was a bit surprised.

But really, the move was inevitable—it was only a matter of when.

While he was a tremendous corner for many years, his play had definitely regressed over the last few seasons, and at 36 and coming off his second collarbone injury in three years, he was not worth the $10 million cap-space hit he would cost.

Really, when it comes to cutting veteran players, it's often about the money.

And this is Ted Thompson's MO, isn't it?

Get younger, get cheaper. Cut overpriced, aging talent. And it's worked.

It's too early to know what is next for Woodson—does he retire, or does he take a one-year, incentive-laden contract in the hopes of winning another Super Bowl ring?

However, it's a perfect time to discuss what this means for the Packers.

Of course, Morgan Burnett will continue to be a fixture there, as well as he's played.

This is also a pretty sure sign the team has faith in younger guys like M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillian, both of whom had decent years and showed improvement over the course of the season.

More than likely, given the Packers' propensity for mixing things up, we will continue to see a combination of both players—Jennings has the edge, though, as he played more strong safety, the position Woodson is vacating.

You can also expect the team to take a look at more secondary help in the upcoming NFL draft.

I'd expect Green Bay to take a serious look at Day 2 guys—second- and third-rounders who can be brought along without having to step into a significant role immediately. Guys like Jonathan Cyprien from Florida International, LSU's Eric Reid or Phillip Thomas from Fresno State. Or, they could wait a bit and grab T.J. McDonald from USC or South Carolina's D.J. Swearinger in the third or fourth round.

As it stands, I don't believe this changes priorities a ton—the first pick is likely someone to stiffen the interior of the defensive line, and the second pick remains one which could go multiple ways.

More safety help is always a good idea, but it's not a pressing need, even after releasing Woodson.


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