Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"Packers Cut Hawk": Alarming Headline, But...


In the most likely scenario, if A.J. Hawk was a member of the Green Bay Packers on Thursday, he was going to make $10 million this season, guaranteed. You don't have to be an NFL executive of the year like Ted Thompson to know that contract wouldn't make good business sense. Unable to work out terms of a new deal, the Packers were left with only one option - releasing their former first round pick.

The headline "Green Bay Packers Cut A.J. Hawk" might be surprising to NFL fans outside of the state, but I still have every reason to believe that Hawk will be a Packer next season (and here's the "if there is a next season" subtext). This was a move that was, for the most part, a financial one. While the inside linebacker position will be crowded next year in Green Bay, I believe that Hawk is a better player at this point than Nick Barnett, and that Hawk deserves the spot next to Desmond Bishop. As of now, Nick Barnett is owed $5.5 million, while Hawk would have been owed that $10 million. That's too much money to tie up at any position, especially one of a backup inside linebacker.

To me, the answer is simple. First, try to work out a deal with Hawk before you are forced to pay him $10 million. Since that didn't work, release him and get that contract off of the books. Then, go back to working on a deal with Hawk that will keep him as a Green Bay Packer, one that is more affordable and more in line with what he deserves to me making. I'm not sure what Teddy has planned, but I'd throw Hawk the $5.5 million that Barnett is due to get, and then cut the Samuri. Maybe Hawk still doesn't deserve a payday even that large, but I'd much rather see Hawk manning the defense than I would Barnett. I think that Barnett's best years as a Packer are behind him, while Hawk is just hitting his stride after his inconspicuous start.

While I do think Hawk will be suited up as a Packer again next season, as with anything in the NFL these days, I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

(Update: In addition to Hawk, Donald Lee and Derrick Martin have also been cut. They are not likely to be resigned.)

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