Yes the Patriots are weak at safety. Yes Tom Brady and Charles Woodson are friends having played at Michigan together. Yes Bill Belichick is an admirer of Charles Woodson. Yes Woodson won Defensive player of the year award just a few seasons ago in 2009. Yes he says he wants to continue playing and continue playing for a contender. However, after his release from the Packers, the Patriots will have to think twice before deciding to try to sign veteran defensive back Charles Woodson.
At the end of the day it all comes down to money. The Patriots have $16 million in cap space to sign a large number of their own free agents including the big three, Welker, Vollmer, and Talib. Therefore, it may not be possible to add a big name free agent like Woodson. On the other hand, Woodson at 36 years old, may be a player, who is willing to take a significant pay cut for one last run at a championship.
The major concerns surrounding Woodson are his health and his loss of athleticism. He has broken his collar bone twice in the past two years and only played in seven games this past season.
"At this stage, Woodson can't cover outside and struggles covering inside. His undisciplined, freelancing style of play continued to compromise the integrity of the defense and influenced younger teammates negatively." Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. He "allowed seven plays of 20 yards or more even though he played just 49.8% of the downs. Had a disappointing season as a pressure player, forced just two takeaways, finished last among eight defensive backs in passes broken up per snap."
While that may all sound bad, Woodson can still effect a game. He can still cover slower tight ends and excels at looking into the backfield and reading plays.
However, he just may not be a good fit for the Patriots. He has lost some of his speed and is no longer an effective corner. Additionally, he can't be the hard hitting safety that the Patriots so desperately desire, as his 36 year old body would not stand up to a years worth of punishment. Finally, the Patriots, who struggled to prevent the big play, probably do not want to add another player who had a habit of giving up the big play this past season.
If Woodson takes a huge pay cut to play for a contender he could be a good fit for New England. Otherwise, the Patriots should look elsewhere to solve their secondary issues.
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