According to a multiple reports, San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said the team is “still interested” in signing former Green Bay Packers safety Charles Woodson. In one of the reports, an Associated Press reporter tweeted:
Baalke on #49ers possible signing Charles Woodson: “We feel he can still play the game. That’s something we’re going to continue to look @.”
— Janie McCauley (@JanieMcCAP) April 17, 2013
Baalke made the comment while speaking to reports on Wednesday. Back in March, Woodson made a visit to 49ers headquarters but left without a contract offer. There has not been a big market for Woodson in free agency, despite him being a three-time All-Pro and showing last season he can still play at a top-level. One reason could be his age, he is 36, and the fact that teams don’t want to overpay for his services.
The news that the 49ers are still interested in Woodson was not too big of a surprise considering he has not visited with any other teams. This gives the 49ers leverage and is a reason why to wait to sign him at a lower rate than what he is looking for. It does not make much sense for the 49ers to outbid themselves when no other teams have asked the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year to make a visit.
There have been no reports on what Woodson in seeking in terms of contract money, but with veterans like linebackers Brian Urlacher and James Harrison also not signed to contracts yet, teams are being cautious. One reason why so many defensive veterans have not signed a contract could be the players themselves as they’re used to making big money each season and signing multiple year deals. While team executives want the veterans to sign a one-year contract to prove they’re still worth the big money. See Brian Urlacher.
Basically, the 49ers and the rest of the NFL are telling veterans like Woodson to play at the same level they have during their careers, but at much lower rate than they’re used to. But the window for the 49ers to sign Woodson will not stay open forever. He could garner more interest from other teams after the NFL draft next week as teams might not select the safety they were hoping for and have to resort to a backup plan.