Cornerback will get $8.782 million

Originally Published: August 31, 2004
ESPN.com news services

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Charles Woodson's monthlong holdout didn't yield the "boatload of money" he said he was looking for, so it was time to show up at Oakland Raiders' training camp.

Woodson signed a one-year tender for $8.782 million on Tuesday, joining the team for the first time after a 33-day holdout.

Charles Woodson
Cornerback
Oakland Raiders
Profile
2003 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
70 56 14 1 1 3

"I think everybody is just ready for me to get in here, and get into the thick of things and get ready to play football," he said. "The players, they understand my side. The coaches, all of them have been through it before with other players so this is nothing new to anybody. I'm not the first to do this and I certainly won't be the last. I think right now everybody is just ready for me to get out there and play ball."

Woodson is the team's exclusive franchise player, a designation that caused his tender to increase from $7.4 million this spring. Exclusive franchise players can't negotiate with other teams. That designation increases the tender depending on the signings of other players at his position.

The Raiders and Woodson's agent, Carl Poston, will try to work on a long-term deal now that Woodson is camp. Poston told ESPN.com's John Clayton that he thought both sides made progress on a long-term deal back in March.

Woodson wanted a long-term deal and hoped the leverage of a holdout would force the Raiders to negotiate with him. But before he could talk about another deal or come to camp, he had to sign the tender offer.

The Raiders placed the franchise tag on Woodson in February. The 27-year-old Woodson, who's entering his seventh pro season, reportedly wants to be the highest paid cornerback in the NFL.

"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't about the money," Woodson said. "What player doesn't want to make a boat load of money? I'm one of those players. It didn't get done. I'm still going to make great money by any measure this year. We'll see what happens."

Woodson, who also missed all the offseason minicamps, participated in practice and meetings as he tries to catch up with his teammates.

"He says he's doing a lot of running," coach Norv Turner said. "That's the endurance part of it. Obviously when you start covering people, change of direction and all that, it's totally different. But he looked really good. He's awful quick. He uses his hands extremely well. He looked real good."

Woodson reported to camp with no guarantee that the Raiders would negotiate a longterm deal and could face the same predicament next offseason.

"We did everything we could do," Woodson said. "We wanted an assurance before I came in here that they were going to do a longterm deal, so as you can see, the tender wasn't signed and we couldn't do a deal. Now I'm here. I signed the tender. And I'm not worrying about the longterm or anything like that right now."

Turner said that Woodson wouldn't play in Thursday's exhibition finale against St. Louis. Woodson, however, expects to be in the starting lineup when the team opens the season Sept 12 at Pittsburgh.

"That's my plan," he said. "I don't want to be around and not be playing or starting. So I'm going to do everything I can to get myself ready so ... when we play Pittsburgh, I'll be the starter."

Woodson had been working out twice a day in Houston, so the Raiders aren't as concerned about his fitness level as they are about his ability to play catch-up in new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's 3-4 scheme.

"Had we had the same coaching staff as last year it wouldn't even be an issue. But I do have to learn the defense -- a lot of new terminology, different things like that that I have to get used to," he said. "So once I get that down and get out here and do football-type activities, I'll be all right."

Turner said the coaches would do whatever they could to get Woodson ready for the opener but that the cornerback might be limited to a role as a nickel back.

"It's based really on how he handles in everything," Turner said. "If he zeros in on our nickel package and he knows exactly what to do on that and we zero in on what we have to do against Pittsburgh he could make a great contribution in that game."

Information from senior ESPN.com NFL writer John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.