Woodson an odd target for Thompson

The idea of Charles Woodson suiting up for the Green Bay Packers this fall is tantalizing. Then, you remember Woodson's injury history and likely price tag and you ask yourself, "Why is Ted Thompson interested in him?"

To be sure, a healthy Woodson would be a huge upgrade to the Packers' secondary. Al Harris is as superb as Ahmad Carroll has been an immature underachiever.

With that said, Woodson is exactly the type of guy Thompson, reluctant to dip his toes into free agency to begin with, has steadfastly refused to chase during his short tenure as the Packers' general manager.

During his first four seasons, he played in all 64 regular-season games and intercepted 11 passes. In his last four seasons, he played in 44 regular-season games and intercepted just six passes.

In 2002, he missed seven games with a broken shoulder. He played in 15 of 16 games in 2003, but missed three games with a knee injury in 2004 and sat out the final 10 games last season after suffering a broken leg against Buffalo on Oct. 23.

Combine his declining production, his age (he'll turn 30 on Oct. 7) and injury history with his hefty contract demands — he made more than $19 million the last two seasons in Oakland, and even if he cuts his annual salary in half, he'll cost about $5 million — and he's example No. 1 of the type of player Thompson typically would have no interest in.

Perhaps Thompson thinks a change of scenery will bring Woodson a change of luck. Perhaps Thompson wants to prove — to the fans and to the rest of the league — that he's willing to spend big money. Perhaps the Mike McKenzie and Javon Walker fiascos make him feel compelled to show that Green Bay isn't a bad place to play. Perhaps it's a way to satisfy Brett Favre's not-so-subtle wishes. Perhaps he's just exasperated by the lousy play and chronic childishness showed by Carroll.

Either way, Thompson seems genuinely interested in Woodson. As coach Mike McCarthy said, the Packers wouldn't invite Woodson to Green Bay for a visit and workout if they weren't sincerely considering making him an offer.

Woodson, if hungry and healthy, is the type of player who could make a dramatic difference on an already-decent Packers defense. Pairing Woodson and Harris at cornerback would be the tonic to a mediocre pass defense that lacks a pass-rushing presence.

At some point, Thompson will have to show his team and the rest of the league that he's serious about building a winner. Going after Woodson, however, is a curious way to show it.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.

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