Packers release DB Charles Woodson
Charles Woodson is on the market.
The Green Bay Packers released the 36-year-old defensive back Friday with two years left on his contract.
"We are grateful for all that Charles has given to the Green Bay Packers over the past seven years," general manager Ted Thompson said. "He has been an integral part of the Packers' success and our Super Bowl title in 2010 would not have been possible without his contributions. A once-in-a-generation talent as a player, he is also a great leader and ambassador for the organization off the field."
The Packers clear about $10 million in cap space by releasing Woodson. Carl Poston, Woodson's agent, said the veteran wasn't done yet.
"The Packers told Charles they're going in a different direction," Poston said. "Charles told me he still wants to play - for a Super Bowl contender."
Woodson signed a five-year deal before the 2010 season that was worth as much as $55 million. He missed nine games during the 2012 regular season because of a broken right collarbone and played in two postseason games for the Packers in his seventh year with the franchise.
"We had a good run," Woodson wrote to ESPNWisconsin.com in a text message.
Woodson was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1998. He spent the first eight years of his career with the Oakland Raiders, who drafted him out of Michigan with the No. 4 overall pick.
He's the only player in NFL history with touchdowns off interceptions in six straight seasons, a feat he pulled off each year from 2006 to 2011, and leads the league with nine touchdowns off interceptions since 2006. He went to the Pro Bowl every year from 2008-11.
Woodson was productive for the Packers, but they have some tough decisions to make this offseason to manage the salary cap. Woodson had a year left on his lucrative deal and linebacker A.J. Hawk is under contract next year for a team that probably wants to give long-term deals to receiver James Jones, linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive tackle B.J. Raji because each of the relatively young standouts could potentially be free agents following next season.
Despite his age and recent injury, Woodson will likely be an in-demand free agent. He was injured last October, bounced back in time to defend two passes in the playoffs.
Vikings GM: Team not trading Harvin
The Minnesota Vikings have no intention of trading wide receiver Percy Harvin, general manager Rick Spielman said Friday.
Spielman refused to comment specifically on Harvin's contract situation, citing his usual policy about any Vikings player or coach. Spielman said team officials, as always, will meet next week at the NFL scouting combine with the agents for every player, which of course includes Harvin's representative, Joel Segal. Spielman declined to address the possibility of negotiating a new deal for Harvin, who will the final year of his contract in 2013.
As for the potential of a holdout, should Harvin's deal not be extended, Spielman said "he's not going to get into hypotheticals" about that.
"Percy Harvin is under contract and we expect him, just like all of our players under contract, to be here," Spielman said,
Spielman stopped short when asked if he meant the Vikings won't ultimately make a deal that sends Harvin away.
"Again, there is no intent to trade Percy Harvin," Spielman said. "He is a very good football player."
Colts: Freeney won't be back
Dwight Freeney and Austin Collie were not expected to be back with the Indianapolis Colts next season.
On Friday, the team made it official by issuing a statement saying it would not re-sign Freeney, the Colts' career sacks leader, or Collie, a key player in their second Super Bowl run since moving to Indy. Both will now become unrestricted free agents.
"Sadly, Dwight and Horseshoe parting ways," team owner Jim Irsay wrote on Twitter after the team confirmed the moves.
It's the second straight year Indy's offseason has started with the departure of some familiar faces and fan favorites.
Last year, the Colts released four-time MVP Peyton Manning in early March. A few days later, they cut running back Joseph Addai, linebacker Gary Brackett, safety Melvin Bullitt and tight end Dallas Clark. Right tackle Ryan Diem retired and a handful of players including receiver Pierre Garcon and center Jeff Saturday left in free agency. It looked like the Colts might also lose Pro Bowlers Robert Mathis and Reggie Wayne, too, but Indy re-signed both players and both again made the Pro Bowl team in 2012.
Freeney turns 33 next week, has seen his sacks totals decline each of the past three years, counted more than $17 million against the cap last season and never seemed comfortable after moving from a 4-3 defensive end, where he spent his first 10 NFL seasons, to a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Goodell paid over $29 million in 2011
Commissioner Roger Goodell was paid $29.49 million by NFL owners in 2011, nearly triple his compensation from the previous year.
According to the league's most recent tax return, most of Goodell's pay comes in the form of a $22.3 million bonus. His base pay was $3.1 million. The NFL was scheduled to file the return Friday.
While the league declined comment on specifics, it must, by law, make the return available upon request.
In 2011, Goodell helped the league reach a new 10-year labor deal and work out lucrative TV contracts.
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