Odds on Where Charles Woodson Will Land in 2013
It appears to be the end of an era in Green Bay.
We are grateful for all that Charles has given to the Green Bay Packers over the past seven years. He has been an integral part of the Packers' success and our Super Bowl title in 2010 would not have been possible without his contributions. A once-in-a-generation talent as a player, he is also a great leader and ambassador for the organization off the field. Charles will always be a member of the Packers family and we look forward to his eventual induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We wish him and his family all the best.
The 36-year-old played in only seven games last year and has clearly lost a step, but the 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year is still a savvy player who is stout against the run and has a nose for the football.
There will be no shortage of suitors on the open market, including Father Time, as there's a very real possibility that Woodson just calls it a career after 14 seasons.
With that said, early indications are that Woodson isn't finished yet, at least given what his agent told Garafalo.
"Green Bay and Charles have decided to part ways. Charles is waiting for the the next step," Poston said in a voice message. "He still has the bug (to play) and wants to win another Super Bowl before he calls it quits.
"Obviously, we're going to be looking at some contenders with that in mind."
Here's an early look at the leading candidates for where Woodson will hang his hat in 2013.
This one only makes the list because of some creative lobbying.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has already started banging the drum, extolling Woodson to come to the Pacific Northwest and join the Seahawks.
Charles Woodson come to Seattle with the L.O.B and let's go after this ring!
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) February 15, 2013
It's a nice thought, but the Seahawks have much bigger holes to fill than improving a secondary that doesn't need to be fixed.
Odds of Woodson Playing in Seattle: Four percent
Even though the Cincinnati Bengals have a number of free agents of their own to sign, the team has the cap space to take a run at Charles Woodson if they want to.
The team also has a need at strong safety in the base defense, and could even employ a nickel look with Reggie Nelson at strong safety and Woodson at either free safety or slot corner.
The Bengals could also point to two-straight playoff appearances as proof that the team could make a deep run with Woodson.
Mike Brown ponying up big bucks for a veteran free agent is the third sign of the Apocalypse though, so if this happens, make sure your affairs are in order.
Odds of Woodson Playing in Cincinnati: Five percent
Any time a big-name veteran free agent becomes available, Jerry Jones reflexively reaches for the telephone, as he's as much into a player's cachet as their talent.
However, this move could make sense from a football standpoint as well, because the Cowboys' safety situation is badly in need of an upgrade.
Finding the money to sign Woodson would be the biggest stumbling block here, as well as convincing Woodson that the Cowboys are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
It's a possibility, albeit a remote one.
Odds of Woodson Playing in Dallas: Six percent
Honestly, I'm tempted to move this one further up the list because the more I think about this fit, the more I like it.
The free-agent crop at inside linebacker is far from inspiring, so the Texans may choose to focus in free agency on upgrading the secondary.
In that case, Woodson could be a very intriguing option as a short-term fix for a team very much in "win-now" mode.
Odds of Woodson Playing in Houston: Seven percent
Green Bay Packers
It's entirely possible that this whole situation may be much ado about nothing.
Yes, Woodson and the Packers have "parted ways," but that move was about one thing and one thing only.
Saving $10 million in cap space this year.
Granted, Thompson's press release doesn't exactly sound like a reunion is forthcoming.
Still, unless another club blows his socks off, Woodson could end up right back where he started for one more reduced-cost run with the Packers.
Odds of Woodson Playing in Green Bay: 11 percent
The Indianapolis Colts are another very interesting fit for Charles Woodson.
According to John Clayton of ESPN, the Colts have over $45 million in cap space for 2013, which could leave them plenty of coin to make a run at Woodson.
The team also has needs at both cornerback and safety, and Woodson could serve as a steadying presence at the back end of the team's defense.
After 11 wins in 2012, the Colts are a team very much on the rise, and the Colts could view Woodson as a "coach on the field" who would help accelerate their defensive transition.
Odds of Woodson Playing in Indianapolis: 14 percent
This one is by far the saddest option on this list, but it's also one of the more likely.
I know Woodson's agent said Woodson wants to keep playing, but at 36, Woodson's mind could change—especially if the offers he gets aren't what he expected.
After all, Charles Woodson has done everything there is to do as a football player.
He won the Heisman Trophy.
He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
He's won a Super Bowl.
He'll be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.
After 16 NFL seasons and two broken collarbones in the past three years, Woodson might just decide that enough is enough.
Odds of Woodson Retiring: 17 percent
New England Patriots
The biggest stumbling block for the Colts landing Woodson could be that the teams in front of them are theoretically "closer" to the Super Bowl.
That includes the New England Patriots, who once again were let down by their pass defense in the playoffs in their AFC title game loss to the Ravens.
The Patriots have some tough personnel decisions to face and not a lot of cap room, but Bill Belichick has never been shy about signing veterans and teams always manage to find some extra wiggle room.
Don't sleep on the hoodie here.
Odds of Woodson Playing in New England: 18 percent
OK, I know what you're thinking.
With Champ Bailey already on the team, the last thing the Denver Broncos need is to spend valuable resources on another aging cornerback.
However, the Broncos could certainly use a safety that understands what "deep help" means.
Do you think Charles Woodson, with all his experience, would have let Jacoby Jones get behind him on third down at the end of a playoff game?
I rest my case.
Odds of Woodson Playing in Denver: 18 percent