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Woodson, Springs in similar situations - NFL News - ESPN - 6/16/03


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Woodson, Springs in similar situations

By Darrell Trimble

NFL Insider

Monday, June 16

Updated: June 16

11:16 AM ET

In this pass-happy league, it isn't often that Pro Bowl cornerbacks in their prime are the subject of trade rumors. But such was the case for Charles Woodson and Shawn Springs early this offseason. Both are going into the final year of their rookie contracts and both have recently had injury concerns. But when healthy, they are an asset to any defense.

Of the two, Woodson is more concerned with getting a deal done before the season. The Raiders, who had to trim $40 million from their roster to comply with the NFL's salary cap, have some concerns about the Woodson's durability. Over the first three years of his tenure with the team that wasn't an issue, but two years ago he battled turf toe that limited his effectiveness and last season he broke a bone in his right shoulder and a bone in his right leg.

In total, he missed only eight games, but Woodson hasn't played like a Pro Bowler since. He now claims that he's 100 percent and he wants a new contract. It's difficult to blame the Raiders for their cautionary stance or Woodson for his desire to seek an extension prior to the September. But the Raiders should realize that Woodson's leverage is low and that he could be signed on the cheap now.

Granted, on the cheap is a relative term, but given his recent injury history they could get him below market value. At this point, it would seem that Woodson has suffered more from bad luck than lack of durability. He played through the turf toe and suffered two separate breaks to two different bones last year. Those injuries don't signal a chronic problem. So the Raiders should try to engage Woodson in contract talks and take advantage of the situation, because if he stays healthy this year and becomes a free agent, he would command huge dollars from any number of interested teams.

For example, Dre' Bly signed a five-year, $24.5 million contract that includes a $6.5 million signing bonus. Bly is nowhere near as talented as Woodson, so on the open market he could set his price.

Conversely, the Seahawks should wait on Shawn Springs. The Ohio State product has missed nine games over the last two seasons and has chronic hamstring troubles. In fact, things were so bad two years ago that he took an illegal supplement to help speed his recovery, only to be suspended four games for violating the league's policy on steroids.

If healthy, Springs could shine in defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes' new defense, but he has to remain in good shape. Unfortunately, Springs tweaked his hammy on the first day of a minicamp last month. During a recent interview, Rhodes said, "One of the things the guys have to understand is that it's a new regime coming in, and it's not OK to be hurt. You know, this is not a country club."

Rhodes has convinced Springs to work out with the team to help with his conditioning, and if that works and Springs returns to his old form, he, like Woodson, could write his own check. But of the two, Woodson is the safest bet to make it back to the Pro Bowl, and the Raiders shouldn't pass on an opportunity to lock him up below cost.

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