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Friday, March 22, 2013
Opinion: Woodhead decision puzzling

By Mike Reiss & Field Yates

Taking a look at the contract details of the two-year agreement reached by former Patriots running back Danny Woodhead and the San Diego Chargers:

Overall terms: 2 years, $3.5 million ($1 million guaranteed)
Signing bonus: $1 million
2013 base salary: $750,000 (non-guarnateed)
2014 base salary: $1.75 million (non-guaranteed)

The deal also includes playing time incentives. If Woodhead plays at least 50 percent of the offensive snaps in either season, he earns an additional $100,000 for that season (note: Woodhead was at 34 percent in 2012 for the Patriots). If he plays at least 60 percent of the offensive snaps in either season, he earns an additional $200,000 for that season. That brings the maximum value of the deal to two years and $3.9 million.

QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: This strikes us as a very reasonable deal for a player of Woodhead's caliber and dependability. That dependability has long been the trait the Patriots have valued most in their running backs, and few players were as consistent as Woodhead during his time with the team. In addition to his work as a rusher and pass-catcher, Woodhead also grew into a reliable pass-protector. The club signed Leon Washington to a one-year deal, and perhaps he takes over some of Woodhead's duties. Third-year man Shane Vereen also projects to play more snaps next season, so perhaps the Patriots felt Woodhead was more expendable as a result of that. That being said, bringing Woodhead back to New England on these terms would not have struck us as unreasonable given his value to the offense. Depth at running back is critical and bringing Woodhead back on this deal would have addressed that area, and also not handcuffed the club from making other moves.