The Green Bay Packers have to make a decision on linebacker [intlink id=”80″ type=”category”]A.J. Hawk[/intlink] at some point this offseason.
Hawk is guaranteed $10 million for the 2011 season under his current contract. That’s an amount the Packers have no intention of paying.
The team will either renegotiate his deal or cut Hawk and risk losing him.
If there was a collective bargaining agreement in place, the league year would begin on March 4 and that’s the day the Packers would be on the hook for Hawk’s $10 million salary. Of course, there is no collective bargaining agreement in place and if the current lack of negotiations between the owners and the player’s union are any indication, there probably won’t be one for a while.
Theoretically, the current negotiating stalemate gives the Packers a little more time to make a decision or work toward a new contract with Hawk.
As we discussed prior to [intlink id=”1425″ type=”category”]Super Bowl XLV[/intlink], Hawk proved to be a valuable defender for the Packers, this season. No, he’ll never be a superstar, but the Packers would have been in trouble had they traded Hawk when he wanted out after not playing a down in the first game of the season.
Certainly, injuries to [intlink id=”79″ type=”category”]Brandon Chillar[/intlink] and [intlink id=”139″ type=”category”]Nick Barnett[/intlink] proved just how valuable Hawk is and with Barnett’s return uncertain — he’s scheduled to make $6 million this year and is coming off the second season-ending injury of his career — it would behoove the Packers to work out a new deal with Hawk sooner rather than later.
Although he’s given no indication he wants to play elsewhere, the Packers can’t afford to take the chance of losing Hawk.