D'ADAMO: Keeping Woodson not justified

The Oakland Raiders are normally a very forgiving organization when it comes to players with baggage.

The feeling here, however, is that the Oakland Raiders should simply cut their losses with cornerback Charles Woodson because he's not worth the trouble. I know, it's easy to say now after Woodson and teammate Marques Anderson spent about four hours in jail last Monday morning when whey refused to leave the backseat of a woman's car. She summoned police who placed the players in custody.

There's nothing wrong with anyone, regardless of profession, enjoying life away from their work domain. The problem is, this is not the first time Woodson has seen such trouble. Based on his DUI arrest four years ago, Woodson could have been in the league's abuse program. There are even more salient reasons, however, why the Raiders should say "bye-bye" to Woodson.

Much to his dislike, Oakland made him an "exclusive rights" franchise player. Woodson made it no secret he did not want that fate. That distinction ensured that he would be Raiders property. That title also earned Woodson close to $9 million dollars this season after ending a 33-day holdout in training camp.

Woodson was voted to the Sporting News All-Overrated team. Woodson leads the team with 74 total tackles. Granted, the All-Overrated team is a subjective point of view but even if Woodson rates in the top 5-10 among NFL cornerbacks, right now he's closer to 5-10 than first. That status certainly does not warrant the long-term deal of $60-70 million that he is reportedly seeking.

In one respect, the Raiders should do whatever it takes to keep Woodson. All you have to do is watch Phillip Buchanon and Denard Walker give up big plays. In another circle, however, the question begs, is Woodson worth the investment? And will Woodson give the Raiders a full commitment if they give him one?

The question appears to be "no" on both fronts.

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. After all, what in the heck is doing on the streets of Oakland at 4:20 a.m. Monday morning? Again, there's nothing wrong with enjoying a few adult beverages. We've all done it but if the Raiders are going to pony up for that kind of coin, they should expect his commitment to be above and beyond reproach.

The bottom line is that if the Raiders are going to offer an seven or eight figure dollar amount of up front money, they should expect nothing but his best. Period. Also, the Raiders would be much better served using that money to get a handful of solid players rather than have one guy that you can't assured of whole-heartedly being committed tying up a big chunk of the payroll.

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 former 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, Callahan deserved his share of the blame for what happened last season and there's nothing unlawful about that action but it was a troubling circumstance nonetheless, no matter if Woodson admitted he was wrong.

Would he be better or worse if the Raiders doled out a bunch 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?"

There's also a whole other matter. Wide receiver Jerry Porter. Granted, Porter expressed his desire in voiding the last year of his contract when learning that the Raiders allegedly had him on the trading block. Porter, who is in his fifth season, has relented on his stance to a certain degree but is he really serious about it? Who knows?

However, Porter has performed much better over the previous month and appears to be taking advantage of his coveted No. 1 receiver role now that Jerry Rice and Tim Brown are gone. One could argue that Porter has been too inconsistent to warrant a serious bank-breaking job.

The Raiders, however, should make a much bigger effort to keep Porter than Woodson.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com

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