Charles Woodson's Return to the Oakland Raiders Tops off Productive Offseason

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIMay 22, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Ken Dilger #85 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs with the ball after a catch against Charles Woodson #24 and Denard Walker #25 of the Oakland Raiders on September 26, 2004 at Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, California.  The Raiders defeated the Buccaneers 30-20.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders, led by GM Reggie McKenzie, have had a very busy offseason in which many players were released and replaced by under-the-radar free-agent signings.

In Oakland, players like Rolando McClain have been replaced by Nick Roach while Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer have been replaced by D.J. Hayden and Tracy Porter.

The Raiders' defensive makeover has been so drastic that only three starters are returning on defense. Now, we can technically say they will have four returning starters.

According to Josh Dubow of the Associated Press, Charles Woodson will return to the Oakland Raiders on a one-year contract.  Woodson was a Raider from 1998-2005 after being selected by Oakland with the fourth overall draft pick in 1998.   

Woodson returns to a team that is very much different than the franchise that drafted him in 1998.  He last played for the Raiders when Al Davis ran the organization and the Raiders had the same defensive philosophy they had used since the 1960s. That philosophy was man-to-man coverage for the defensive backs and the basic four-man pass rush.

Woodson will have a much more complex playbook this time around, as the Raiders now utilize much more zone coverage and blitzes than when Woodson last wore silver and black in 2005.

Woodson will now be the starting free safety in Oakland.  Woodson can serve as a coach on the field for the younger defensive backs, such as Tyvon Branch and D.J. Hayden.  

At the very least, a Woodson-Raiders reunion is nostalgic for the fans who remember when Woodson was a Raider in the early 2000s, when the team last appeared in a Super Bowl.