First he was released; then he was signed. Whatever, Packers fans should be breathing a sigh of relief because A.J. Hawk will be wearing green and gold for years to come.
On Thursday, with a potential player lockout looming in the wake of the tenuous collective bargaining agreement talks between NFL owners and the players’ union, the Packers’ former No. 5 draft choice (2006) signed a five-year deal to remain with the team with which he won a Super Bowl in February.
Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but the deal is rumored to be worth up to $35 million over the next five years, with about $10 million in guaranteed money. Hawk was slated to make $10 million this coming season as part of his old deal. Hawk told the Green Bay Press-Gazette yesterday that he was informed of his release in advance.
“That was part of the plan, and they gave me the heads up before they went public with it,” Hawk said in a phone interview with the Press-Gazette. “I had no problem with it because I knew we were getting close to getting something done. The plan all along was to stay here.”
Hawk led the team in tackles in 2010-11 with 111, and shone during the final 12 regular season games and the playoffs, taking over as the defensive play-caller following an injury to fellow linebacker Nick Barnett. Hawk also added three interceptions and a half sack, and greatly improved in pass coverage in defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ 3-4 defensive scheme.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with A.J.,” Packers general manager Ted Thompson said. “We appreciate his work and dedication.”
The new deal will also give Green Bay a bit more salary wiggle room, which could loom large if a new CBA includes salary cap changes.