Packers release 2009 Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson
The move makes sense from a financial standpoint, as Woodson was set to make $10 million in 2013, and he simply is not worth that type of money anymore. A return to Green Bay on a cheaper deal is certainly a possibility, but it isn't believed that the two sides have discussed any sort of new contract yet.
Woodson was the fourth overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft after becoming the first defensive player to win the Heisman Trophy while at the University of Michigan. He lived up to the hype immediately in the NFL, making the Pro Bowl in his first four seasons while playing for the Oakland Raiders. Injuries then plagued Woodson for the next few years, which led the Raiders to let him walk in free agency and sparked a six-year Pro Bowl drought. He then revitalized his career in Green Bay, where he made four more consecutive Pro Bowls, earned two All-Pro selections and Defensive Player of the Year honors, and won a Super Bowl.
Woodson, now at the age of 36, was experiencing a decline in athleticism going into the 2012 season, which would make it hard for him to shadow some of the younger, electrifying receivers in the league. The Packers decided to move Woodson to strong safety, where they could still use his playmaking ability, but he wouldn't be as exposed physically. He simply was not the same player he once was for the first seven games of the season, and then missed the rest of the regular season due to a broken collarbone. He could still probably start on some defenses, but his price was too steep for his current ability.
Even if he doesn't work out a new deal with the Packers, Woodson is not expected to retire. Plenty of teams needing of help in the secondary will be interested in Woodson, and he'll likely draw a one-year deal due to his age and injury history.
The Packers are now left with Morgan Burnett and MD Jennings as their top two safeties. Burnett played well in 2012 and is a valuable asset against the pass, but the team may look to upgrade on Jennings with a player who is better in run support. The Packers gave up 4.5 yards per carry (26th in NFL) in 2012.