The Oakland Raiders have signed veteran defensive back Charles Woodson, the player they originally drafted in 1998. The move concludes a complete overhaul of the Raiders' secondary.
Woodson returns to Oakland, after spending seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers. He has signed a one-year deal with the Silver and Black, according to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer.
Woodson won a Super Bowl during his time with the Packers and became one of the best hybrid defenders in football. Capable of lining up as an outside or slot cornerback, Woodson has also seen time at free safety and even linebacker.
He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, as a vital component of Dom Capers' zone-blitz schemes in Green Bay. Woodson's performances clearly impressed current Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, who worked for the Packers until 2012.
Oakland head coach Dennis Allen runs a multiple-front defense and should find plenty of ways to free Woodson to attack offenses. Woodson is a dangerous blitzer and his presence will increase the versatility of Oakland's pressure packages.
Nearly every member of the Chicago Bears is in Illinois this week for offseason training activities, but the focus has been on the one who isn’t: offensive lineman Gabe Carimi. The 2011 first-round pick is in Arizona, trying to get his perpetually injured right knee back to 100 percent.
Speculation has been heavy that Carimi is hurting his chances of staying on the roster by his conspicuous absence, but a report from the Chicago Sun-Times suggests otherwise. The paper notes that GM Phil Emery (during an interview on SiriusXM radio) said “we respect [Carimi’s decision]. And he’ll be welcomed back with open arms when he comes back.”
Emery’s comments bring a welcome sense of perspective to Carimi’s situation. Although a player missing OTAs can be a sign of friction between the individual and the team, there’s no indication that such a problem exists for the third-year lineman.
The New York Giants are interested in signing ageing defensive back Charles Woodson, according to a report from ESPN's Josina Anderson. The Giants need help in the secondary and Woodson is still without a team, after being released by the Green Bay Packers.
He may have lingered on the league's scrap heap this offseason, but Woodson can still be an asset to any secondary. Even at 36, he has retained the coverage skills that made him a premier cornerback during the peak of a career that began in 1998.
The Giants are not particularly well-stocked at the edges of their defensive backfield. Veteran Corey Webster is a declining force on one side. Over on the other, 2011 first-rounder Prince Amukamara has struggled to convince.
The G-Men did bring back Aaron Ross in free agency, but he is more of a nickel corner. Woodson offers far greater versatility.
Not only would he boost the cornerback rotation, he would also be able to fill in at safety. He moved to free safety for the Packers in 2012.
The Oakland Raiders have reportedly agreed a deal to sign ace kick returner Josh Cribbs. ProFootballTalk.com reports that the former Cleveland Browns special teams standout has decided to accept an offer to join the Silver and Black.
The move gives the Raiders a major boost on special teams and a versatile weapon for their sub-packages on offense. In particular, Cribbs should be able to help out on third downs.
However, his true value is likely to be in the return game. The 29-year-old has excelled returning kickoffs and punts, since entering the NFL in 2005. He was not quite at his best in 2012, but still produced 1,178 yards on kickoff returns. He also chipped in with 457 yards on punt returns.
The Raiders frankly need Cribbs to again dominate in the return game. He can help win the field position battle, for a team in complete rebuild mode on both sides of the ball. The offense is not expected to be lighting up scoreboards in 2013.
The San Diego Chargers have invited free agent pass-rusher Dwight Freeney to visit, after losing outside linebacker Melvin Ingram for the season. Freeney's visit was reported by U-T San Diego, after Chargers.com confirmed Ingram has torn his ACL.
Taking the first steps to signing Freeney is a smart move by the Chargers. Ingram's loss robs the defense of its only real pure pass-rusher.
The Chargers are well-stocked on the inside. Linebackers Donald Butler and rookie Manti Te'o will form a punishing duo.
San Diego also boast considerable talent along the interior of the defensive line. Young tackles Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes have the potential to dominate.
However, without Ingram, there is little threat from the edges. Even at 33, Freeney remains a dynamic outside pass-rusher.