After the Packers released veteran defensive back Charles Woodson, Woodson said he wanted to play for a contender. With no contenders biting, Woodson has lowered his sights.
“When this process first started out, that was my thing, I needed to go to a contender,” Woodson said Thursday on NFL Network. “I know I am towards the end of my career. At this point, I want to play football. So if it is a rebuilding stage, at this point if that is the circumstances I have to play under, then that is what I am going to do.”
The contending team that showed the most interest in Woodson — the 49ers — signed safety Craig Dahl and traded up to draft Eric Reid.
Still, Woodson can’t understand why he and other thirtysomething players can’t find work.
“It is kind of the process, but at the same time it is frustrating,” Woodson said. “You have guys that can flat out play football. You look at Dwight Freeney and what he is able to do. They had a system last year that is different than he is used to playing, but he can play football. John Abraham, he led his team in sacks and you say, ‘We don’t have a spot for you on our roster?’ I can’t understand that. Myself, I am just a ballplayer. I need to be on a team.”
The issue for most aging players is money. Stars who have earned millions in the past suddenly face investing the same effort and risk and time for far less money. And it necessarily takes time for the players to come to terms with their new circumstances.
Woodson’s comments prove that the approach works. Eventually, the players will take what they can get, when they can get it. Wherever they can get it.
Sure, some will choose to not play at all if playing means playing for peanuts. But plenty will decide that it’s better to get paid not much to play football than to get paid nothing to not play.