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A.J. Hawk Took a Pay Cut Because That’s What Underachieving Players Do

Ahmad Bradshaw runs over A.J. Hawk

The Green Bay Packers finally did something with the mistake that was A.J. Hawk‘s contract. They asked him to take a pay cut and he did.

The Journal Sentinel says there was a significant reduction in Hawk’s 2013 salary cap number and Tom Silverstein now tell us the reductions are as follows — $1.85 million in ’13, $2.45 million in ’14 and $2.75 million in ’15. Before the reduction, Hawk was counting $7.05 million against the 2013 cap.

Although the Packers didn’t get to the point where they threatened to cut Hawk, it’s important to note the linebacker didn’t get a restructured deal. He’s just getting paid less.

Frankly, it would have been awfully tough for the Packers to release Hawk. If the Packers released Hawk this year, $4.8 million of his original signing bonus would become dead money and count against the salary cap.

Hawk still has two seasons left on the five-year deal he signed in 2011. That contract averaged $6.75 million per season. Good move, Ted.

The agreement means Hawk is a virtual certainty to remain on the Packers roster in 2013. That’s fine with us, so long as he’s not being overpaid and he’s not starting.

If things go according to plan, Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith will return from injury and be the Packers starting inside linebackers in 2013, relegating the underachieving Hawk to backup status.

While we’re more than tired of watching Hawk get shoved around as a starter, he looks great as an insurance policy.

And, with the savings from Hawk’s deal, the Packers can go out and not sign some free agents.

Monty McMahon

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



  1. Vijay March 18, 2013

    Please tank the season so we can get Jadeveon Clowney!

  2. GB West March 18, 2013

    TT probably should have made this move before letting Crabtree get away for three cheeseburgers and a side of fries!

    1. Phatgzus March 20, 2013


  3. the real russ letlow March 18, 2013

    give the dude some credit. not many players take a cut, even if they do suck. sounds like a teamer who wants another SB ring.

  4. FITZCORE1252 March 18, 2013

    As much as I’d like to see it, I don’t see DJ supplanting AJ for the starting job. Hawk has naked dude-on-dude Ted pics, I’m convinced of this.

    GBP 4 LIFE

  5. ay hombre March 18, 2013

    AJ Hawk is not an under-achieving player as the headline of this story suggests. Rather I would argue AJ Hawk is an average player who was vastly overrated coming out of college, never lived up to the early first round pick he was, and has been overpaid his entire career. The Packers and Ted Thompson decided they wanted to pay Hawk as much as they did. It’s not AJ’s fault.

    That’s a far cry from underachieving. On the contrary I think we’ve known exactly what we’re going to get from Hawk and have for awhile and that is a guy who stays healthy, plays, and tends to lead the team in tackles. He was a steady presence in our Super Bowl year, is serviceable or close to it…and is still overpaid.

    1. Packer Bob March 18, 2013


  6. Iltarion March 18, 2013

    Come on, Monty. I know it goes against your feelings about Hawk, but let’s give the guy some credit here. Especially sandwiched between articles about Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley!

    Hawk accepted a pay cut without saying a word. He even accepted a clause that pays him less if he falls so far down the depth chart that he starts hitting the inactive list.

    This contract is very fair, and there aren’t a lot of vets who would have taken it.

    Yes, we HOPE this clears the way for Hawk to be a back up. HOPE.

    It is all about creating space for the monstrous contracts of A-Rodge and Matthews. And don’t forget, EDS and Sam Shields are still waiting to be signed.

  7. Abe Frohman March 19, 2013

    Given the free agent market this season (and probably in seasons to come as well), I still think Hawk is getting too much money. He knew it too and that’s why he took the pay cut. He’d probably only get around the vets minimum someplace else.