A.J. Hawk

Hawk isn't the Packers No. 1 inside linebacker, but he's paid like he is.

I bet Green Bay Packers coach [intlink id=”67″ type=”category”]Mike McCarthy[/intlink] wishes he kept his mouth shut.

I bet inside linebacker [intlink id=”492″ type=”category”]Desmond Bishop[/intlink] wishes he would have waited until after the season to sign a new contract.

[intlink id=”80″ type=”category”]A.J. Hawk[/intlink], on the other hand, has to be happier than a pig in shit.

Even though McCarthy proclaimed Bishop to be the Packers No. 1 inside linebacker, he won’t be the highest paid.

Bishop, who signed a four-year extension worth $19 million in January, has an average salary of $4.75 million. Hawk, who was cut and re-signed last week, will average $6.75 million per season as part of a contract that pays him $33.75 million over five years.

Hawk is scheduled to make $10.95 million this year, which may seem odd, since the Packers cut him so they wouldn’t have to pay the $10 million salary he was scheduled to make under his old contract.

The key difference is this: the new contract included a signing bonus of $8 million. If the salary cap returns as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, Hawk’s bonus will be prorated over the length of his deal.

Thus, Hawk’s salary cap number is only $4.5 million for 2011.

That probably doesn’t matter to Desmond Bishop, though, who must be thinking he got the short end of the stick.

Unfortunately, the Packers didn’t have much choice in the matter. They weren’t prepared to take a $10 million salary cap hit by keeping Hawk under his old contract and they didn’t want to lose him, which they assuredly would have, had they not paid as much as they did.

While Hawk has never played at a Pro Bowl-level, he’s a solid contributor coming off his best season and may have commanded upwards of $7 million a year on the open market.

It’s just another case of the business of the NFL not accurately reflecting the product on the field, which sucks for Desmond Bishop.