Can the Raiders expect Woodson's best?

The Oakland Raiders might – or might not – make a big commitment to cornerback Charles Woodson. The more pressing question is will he make one for them if they do?

Much to his dislike, the Oakland Raiders made him an "exclusive rights" franchise player. Woodson made it no secret he did not want that fate. That distinction ensures he will be Raiders property and stands to make $6.8 million based on current numbers for the five most highly paid NFL cornerbacks. It also means that the Raiders control his destiny, whether it's for them or another team. Woodson made about $2.4million last year in the final year of his deal. Woodson participated in meetings but did not practice at the Raiders most recent three-day minicamp.

In one respect, the Raiders should do whatever it takes to keep Woodson. All you have to do is watch Phillip Buchanon and Terrance Shaw get routinely scorched in coverage. In another circle, however, the question begs, will Woodson give the Raiders a full commitment if they give him one?

That question is not so easy to answer.

There's nothing wrong with Woodson's effort on gameday. He enjoys the challenge of going against the Randy Mosses and Marvin Harrisons of the world. Woodson makes no excuses if such a player gets the better of him.

While Woodson is very good on the field, some people believe that the seventh-year veteran could truly be great if his Monday-Saturday work ethic matched his Sunday effort.

The bottom line is that if the Raiders are going to offer an eight-figure dollar amount of up front money, they should expect nothing but his best. Period.

Woodson was slowed for much of the 2001 and 2002 season because of turf toe and leg injuries. He was healthy last season and played more like his old self but that did not stop the questions.

Woodson was the same guy who publicly feuded with since deposed head coach Bill Callahan. On the eve of the regular season finale, Woodson and running back Charlie Garner blew team curfew and Callahan followed by suspending both players.

Granted, there's nothing unlawful about that action but it was a troubling circumstance nonetheless, no matter if Woodson admitted he was wrong.

Woodson is not necessarily Terrell Owens; at least players listen to Woodson. On the other hand, he also has a reputation of dozing off in film sessions. Again, it doesn't seem like an enormous offense but one that can prevent a player from truly being great.

Would he be better or worse if the Raiders doled out a much of coin for him? Well, it could bring out the best in him or make him say, "Well, what are they going to do cut me?"


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