A.J. Hawk To Remain With Packers, But At What Price?

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A.J. Hawk

Mind boggling: The Packers will keep Hawk at $4.6 million

If you read this blog regularly, you know what we think about Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk – not much.

Hawk had another unspectacular season in Green Bay in 2009, registering 89 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and zero forced fumbles. He was replaced in the nickel defense for much of the season by Brandon Chillar, who also received a contract extension.

The move seemed a clear indication the Packers were ready to feature Chillar in a more prominent role in 2010, which brings me back to Hawk.

In October, the Press Gazette’s Pete Dougherty said the Packers would ask Hawk to take a pay cut or release him after the season. On Tuesday, Dougherty reported that the Packers weren’t going to ask Hawk to take a pay cut and instead would opt to pay him $4.6 million in 2010. (Cheesehead TV has a great diatribe about Dougherty’s credibility here.)

Not exactly the kind of money you want to be paying for a guy who averaged 87.5 tackles the past two seasons and has never become the disruptive force envisioned when he was drafted fifth overall.

“They’re not going to ask (for a pay cut),” Hawk’s agent Mike McCartney said. “They think A.J. is a very important part of their football team. I have full confidence that A.J. is going to have a big year next year, and I think they have the same kind of confidence.”

I’ll go ahead and wholeheartedly disagree with the last part of the statement, right now. A.J. Hawk hasn’t had a big year since he left Ohio State. There’s no reason to believe he’s suddenly going to turn into a monster. Hawk is a liability in coverage, often takes poor tackling angles and simply never will be a big-time playmaker.

According to McCartney, the Packers are willing to pay a premium for quality depth. This says two things if it’s true and not just agent speak.

First, if the Packers approached Hawk about a pay cut he wouldn’t accept it, which would force the team to release him. On the open market, Hawk would likely find another team (like maybe the Vikings, where former Packers go to die), but certainly not for anything close to $4.6 million per season.

Second, it says Packers general manager Ted Thompson is unwilling to admit a mistake. Having depth at inside linebacker is great, but at what cost?

Behind Chillar and Nick Barnett, the Packers also have Desmond Bishop, who performed pretty much the exact opposite of Hawk during the preseason and in limited regular season action. Although his relative inexperience led to some missed assignments, Bishop flew to the ball and generally wreaked havoc when given an opportunity.

In addition, shedding Hawk’s hefty salary could enable the Packers to sign a difference-making free agent(s) from another team or pay some of their own free agents.

Paying Hawk $4.6 million for “quality depth” is absurd. We’re talking about a guy likely to be a backup if he returns to Green Bay next season and “quality depth” is something that can be added through the draft at a fraction of the price.

It’s time the Packers cut their losses with Hawk, so we can all move on and bitch about some of your other underachieving high-round draft choices, Ted.

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About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

10 Comments on "A.J. Hawk To Remain With Packers, But At What Price?"

  1. Middleman

    We’re having trouble understanding this Hawk-bashing in a corner of Packerland not to mention, a lack of the right information.
    Gentlemen, where’s this coming from?? the $4.6 mil? All you have to do is look at the ’09’ stats and this point about trading Hawk is foolish!
    He’s second in team tackles & assists of the front 7; his stats on tackles & stuffs are in the top three in company with the NFL’s Def. player of the year; and is the only LB w/ any INT’s, and his 16 games, we all believe, had SOMETHING to do w/ a defense that was rated in the top 5, and finally #1 for the 2009 NFL season…the entire league, gentlemen, the best rated defense in the league.

    Our weaknesses that cost us, had a awholelotmore to do w/ the DB dropoff than the LB’s. The stats speak for themselves.

  2. Jackson

    While Hawk didn’t turn out to be the player we were so excited to draft, I think is an important part of the team as far as knowing his role…..I would rather keep him for the money they pay him than sign some linebacker in free agency…..Teams that stay together – the Colts are a good example of this – end up playing well together……trust in your teammates is a big part in the NFL…..Also, take into account that after next season, there may not be football for a while due to labor issues…..signing a free agent to a 2 or 3 year deal right now makes little sense…..

  3. ken

    Hawk is a beast.I dont understand ur negative thoughts?I believe you will eat your words this year.Hawk is better then broken barnett.talk about make some cap room.!

  4. Packer Dude

    The entire packers D stinks except for Woodson, Jolly and Harris. Number 1 in the NFL? ROFL. More like number 1 in suckiness. Stats don’t count for anything unless u win. Hawk was #2 for the pack? that shows how bad the pack d is. TT and MM are idiots that need to go. Hawk 4.6 mil? chillar 4 mill? Where do I sign up to play for the pack and miss tons of coverages and tackles and take poor angles? So are fans that think the D is average, good or great. Hawk is worthy of a 5th round pick. I’d take Hunter Hillensmeyer over Hawk. Hunter is way better than Hawk. We had Hunter too.

  5. Jared

    Although I am NOT a Hawk fan, I wouldn’t be so quick to through TT under the bus. He was declared by MANY as the safest pick in the draft, because everyone thought he would be a solid NFL player. For some reason, it hasn’t panned out in Green Bay. He’s not a Mandarich/Harrell type of “bust” because he can play in the NFL and he could easily start on any number of NFL teams, it’s just that we have sooooo many good LBs that he is just the odd man out. It’s a good problem to have, IMO. I say we cut our losses and go and find a playmaking safety or a stud OT (not that any other team would part with either).

  6. Chitter

    Wow! Ladies and gentlemen….Mr. AJ Hawk! It’s pretty obvious AJ that you have created 3 different screen names in order to give the appearance that there are actually 3 different Packers fans that think you’re worth keeping. Hey AJ….we’re not fooled.

  7. Pingback: A.J. Hawk, You're Cut! | Total Packers

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