Should the San Diego Chargers Sign Charles Woodson?

Jamie Squire

The veteran Cornerback/Safety is due to become a free agent. He would fill a need for the San Diego Chargers. Should Tom Telesco sign Charles Woodson?

The big news of the day is that the Green Bay Packers plan to release veteran CB/S Charles Woodson. Woodson is always the guy I referenced when talking about a potential switch to Strong Safety for Quentin Jammer, because the way Woodson was used (part-time Nickel CB and part-time SS) seems like the best way for a player to make that transition.

The San Diego Chargers secondary is currently in shambles. They don't have a decent healthy candidate to play Strong Safety this year and there's a good chance neither of the starting Cornerbacks from 2012 will be back on the 2013 roster. They'll need to sign at least one free agent to fill one of the starting spots in the secondary. Might Woodson be a good choice?


Cost

Woodson was due to make $9.4 million this season and $10 million in 2014, the last year of his contract. That made him the top-paid Safety in the league, and one of the top paid Cornerbacks as well. It's fair to assume that, even at 36 years old, he'll command a similar salary on the free agent market. However, Woodson has publicly said that he intends to sign with a "championship contender", which could equal a discount in salary for some lucky team.

If the Chargers were to pay Woodson roughly $10 million per year on a new contract, it would make him the second highest-paid player on the team behind only Philip Rivers.


Production

One of the good/bad things about Pro Football Focus' ratings is that they're counting stats. This means that players that miss significant chunks of time in a given season can not be ranked highly in that season. That can skew things a bit. For instance, Charles Woodson was the 37th highest-rated Safety in 2012, but played in just 7 games.

If we go back to 2011, we're looking at Woodson purely as a CB. He made the switch to Safety last offseason.

For me, Woodson passes the eyeball test. His ability to play CB or Safety, to defend both WRs and TEs, made him a nightmare for opposing Quarterbacks to try and read pre-snap. He'd move down into "the box" and the offense would have no idea if he was going to blitz, was there for run support, or if he'd break off in man or zone coverage. He's so good at all of those things that he was the unreadable Wild Card.


Need

As a 15 year veteran, Woodson is past the point in his career where he can be a starting CB outside for more than a game or two. He's still rather inexperienced at Safety, but he showed promise against the run and pass at the position.

Do the Chargers need a Safety for a year or two while Brandon Taylor heals and develops? They do. Do they need a nickel CB? Probably not. If they were to sign Woodson, he would be asked to play as a 3-down Safety. For that reason alone, the Chargers would probably be able to find someone else to fill the SS hole in the defense that would be more cost-efficient.


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