Bishop Is Top Inside Linebacker, Hawk Negotiations Going Nowhere

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Desmond Bishop

Bishop is the man in the middle.

Green Bay Packers coach [intlink id=”67″ type=”category”]Mike McCarthy[/intlink] confirmed the obvious yesterday, saying [intlink id=”492″ type=”category”]Desmond Bishop[/intlink] was the team’s No. 1 inside linebacker, but the rest of the group is surrounded by uncertainty.

The Packers confirmed Bishop was part of the team’s long-term plans after he took over for [intlink id=”139″ type=”category”]Nick Barnett[/intlink] and received a four-year extension in December. Meanwhile, Barnett and [intlink id=”80″ type=”category”]A.J. Hawk[/intlink] will be competing to start opposite Bishop.

“Correct,” McCarthy said. “Given the full opportunity to play, I thought Desmond had a heck of a year. You always saw it in spurts. He’s probably the most instinctive guy in the defensive front seven.”

Of course, a few things have to be worked out before the Hawk-Barnett competition begins. Namely, the Packers will have to renegotiate Hawk’s contract.

Hawk is a due a base salary of $10 million in 2011, an amount that’s guaranteed once the league year officially begins. Sources say negotiations with Hawk have gone nowhere, thus far, meaning the Packers would have to release him when the league year eventually begins, which won’t be until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

Barnett’s salary is also on the high end, especially if he ends up being a backup. He’s scheduled to make $5.5 million in 2011 and $6 million in 2012. Although there hasn’t been any indication the Packers would release Barnett, when you look at his recent production and injury history — he’s missed 19 games the last three seasons — it wouldn’t be surprising.

[intlink id=”79″ type=”category”]Brandon Chillar[/intlink], who joined Barnett on injured reserve last season, completes the group. The Packers signed Chillar to an extension during the 2009 season.

It will be interesting to see if the Packers pick up an inside linebacker in the draft. If they do, it’s a clear sign one of these guys could be on his way out.

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.

7 Comments on "Bishop Is Top Inside Linebacker, Hawk Negotiations Going Nowhere"

  1. ay hombre

    I think Hawk’s agent is right to hold his ground. They have some leverage and have to play tough. He anchored that defense, was a leader that called plays, a good tackler, and one of our only linebackers that has been able to stay healthy.

    Of course the Packers want him on the cheap! But when push comes to shove, I think the Pack will pony up and pay Hawk a little more than they want, and in turn let Barnett go. If it’s a couple million more for Hawk versus Barnett I’d say Hawk’s durability, dependability, and leadership makes that the smart play.

    Besides Barnett’s kind of a tool.

    • jeremy

      I think Hawks agent knows he can get 8 mil per as a free agent. The Packers paid him 7 mil in 2010.

      Add up Barnett, Jenkins, Tauscher, Harris, Poppinga, Donald Lee, Justin Harrell, Colledge, Bigby, and James Jones and the Packers will clear over 26 million off of their 2010 salary total of 96 million. The Packer have the money, they will keep Hawk.

  2. robbie

    wait….yall are a trip….you do realize hawk had lost his job 2 brandon Chillar right….thats why he played a total of about 8 snaps the first 4 games……2nd hawk is not more talented than barnett……thats just lying 2 yourself…look if he had a carrer full of injuries id agree on not keeping Nick…and he isnt a tool….both have limitations i think nick just has better hip snap and change of direction better top line speed neither are anygood as pass rushers though which is why next year i think the starting ILB’s will be Bishop and Barnett with chiller coming in often and in the 5 LB formations

  3. Phillthy Phill

    Hawk is needed if only for what he did as a signal caller late in games and vs no huddle offenses. Barnett is a better football player, there’s your choice, leader or playmaker.

  4. Pingback: Bishop Is Packers No. 1 Inside Linebacker, But Hawk Makes More | Total Packers

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