Charles Woodson is back in black, signs one-year deal with Raiders
Woodson eventually showed up in an SUV that was swarmed by Raider Nation, and he gave a wave and went inside to discuss a potential contract with the organization. He came out mid-meeting to get a little closer to fans, and reportedly held up a fan's No. 24 Woodson Raiders jersey, generating a huge ovation.
Though the fans in the parking lot dwindled, many of them stayed for several hours. Those who did were pleased with their decision, as they were eventually informed that Woodson had signed with the Oakland Raiders.
The deal is for one year at $1.8 million with a $700,000 signing bonus. Woodson can reportedly increase his salary to $4.3 million, though the escalators in his contract are said to be hard to reach. Woodson chose the Raiders over the division rival Denver Broncos, who reportedly offered a contract worth a maximum of $3.7 million. The Denver Post, however, reported that the Broncos' proposed contract included "reachable incentives."
It is a bit of a surprise that Woodson chose the Raiders over the Broncos, as Denver boasts a Super Bowl contending squad while the Raiders are very much in rebuilding mode. However, the Raiders could provide certain things that the Broncos could not. The higher max contract was likely a factor, but some players also like to retire with the team they started their careers with. Woodson was drafted fourth overall by the Raiders in 1998, and played the first eight years of his career in Oakland, making four Pro Bowls before injuries plagued him and played a role in his departure.
In addition, Woodson will likely receive more playing time on the Raiders. Just over a year removed from an All-Pro season, Woodson still believes that he can play at a high level, and the Raiders' current roster has several holes in the defensive backfield. Woodson will likely start at free safety opposite Tyvon Branch to create a more than capable safety tandem. Recently signed Usama Young was one of the least effective starting safeties in the league last season, and will be relegated to a reserve role.
Whether it be due to the money, the fans, or the playing time, Raider Nation is thrilled to have their former All-Pro back in Oakland. After initially being greeted with a cold market, I'm sure Woodson is thrilled to have found a new (or old?) home.