Tuesday night at the bar, something compelled me to play Raiders Cap twice within about 45 minutes (come up and complain, I fucking dare you). I assumed that something was alcohol. But apparently that something was actually #24 putting pen to paper on a new contract to most likely finish his career where it started.
Woodson was one of the initial casualties of Green Bay deciding to have Clay Matthews and Aaron Rodgers take up approximately 98.3% of their available salary cap space. He was initially talking to contenders, and after not receiving the interest or offers he had hoped, he tempered his expectations and entertained overtures from teams likely to be a little lower in the standings, either temporarily (the Raiders) or eternally (the Lions and Broncos). Woodson and Reggie McKenzie reportedly got along great in Green Bay, and Reggie put an offer on the table for him immediately after he became available. They agreed to an incentive-laden one-year contract that could potentially top out at $4.3 million.
One can only get so excited about somebody who contending teams took a good look at, and all passed on. But this is awesome. He'll start at safety for us, and with the other off-season additions our secondary has gone from "I'll probably be watching RedZone halfway through the third quarter" to "hey, I don't have to start wincing every time the opposing QB drops back any more!" He also makes the perfect mentor for our first round pick, CB D.J. Hayden. In his Oakland days, Woodson was all-too proud to let us know that he was so good, he didn't need to bother with all that pesky mental preparation crap. Naturally the reaction of many of us was to wonder how good he could have been if he had the kind of head that would make him want to build upon his athletic gifts instead of rely on them. Woodson faced facts and got with the program later in his career, as if he had much of a choice in his 30's. But that's what makes him such a valuable resource; he's as much of an expert as anybody as to what a CB should and should not do in the modern game, and he learned both sides of the coin through experience.
It's also a great look for much-maligned head coach Dennis Allen, who came up through the ranks as a secondary coach, to have gotten a couple respected veterans to play on that unit for us. Raider Nation has not been cutting him much slack, which has seriously been one of the most embarrassing chapters of my life as a Raiders fan- if you expected the team to contend last year, you are an absolute idiot. Not sure what the man is supposed to be doing differently with the cards he's been dealt.
However- Coach Allen has a little more to work with this year. And dare I say it... the karma appears to be changing for the better. First-ballot inductees to the mug shot Hall Of Fame Desmond Bryant and Rolando McClain out, along with Mike Goodson, who had to be taken to the hospital to sober up before he could be arrested on a host of charges a few weeks ago. Chris Kluwe, Josh Cribbs, D.J. Hayden, Woodson in. Suddenly, we have a team that's going to be real tough for informed, impartial observers to hate on.
And there is one more aspect of this transaction that has me pretty damn fired up, which was Reggie's appeal to Raider Nation to show up to Raiders HQ in Alameda to greet Woodson. This is a franchise that is tarping off seats this coming season. They know damn well what I and the rest of us have been through the past decade, and they really can't ask us for much. But while their soon-to-be-former neighbors the Warriors are jack-hammering home their "BEST FANS IN THE WORLD!11!!!!1" schtick, having events to celebrate losing in the second round of the playoffs, the Raiders shrewdly deployed their faithful like a scalpel. And it worked. Aside from Gruden, nobody symbolizes our last run of success (you can throw Gannon out there, but I, famously in some circles, am not much of a fan) more than Woodson. And it would be more perfect than any of us could have imagined if he can help bring us back to those heights. You owe us for not watching any film during your first tour here Chuck- appear in another playoff game and we'll call it even.
PS- FUCK YOU WALT COLEMAN. FUCK YOU ALL OVER.