The inevitable has come to pass - the Green Bay Packers have officially announced the decision to release Desmond Bishop this afternoon, clearing the way for Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk to be the starting inside linebackers in 2013.
The move was expected and spread across the news outlets late last week and came to pass today with the official announcement by the Packers just after 3 p.m. today.
Here is what Bishop tweeted today:
So much fun, so many memories & friendships forged in Green Bay. Ups & downs, wins & losses! Even a XLV championship. Forever grateful #Pack
— Desmond Bishop (@Desbishop55) June 17, 2013
The 28-year-old Bishop signed a $19 million extension in January 2011 and he was scheduled to make about $3.4 million this season and count about $800,000 against the 2014 cap.
Though Bishop insisted that he was 100 percent healthy after suffering a season-ending hamstring injury last August, it appeared the Packers were hoping to restructure his deal if there were any chance he would be brought back. Reports indicated Bishop wasn’t open to that move.
Because Bishop was a more than a fourth-year veteran, he became a street free agent immediately upon his release.
Not surprisingly, it has also been announced that Bishop’s first visit will be at that scrap heap of former Green Bay Packers players, the Minnesota Vikings.
Bishop was drafted in the sixth round in 2008 and worked his way into the starting role in 2010 when Nick Barnett went down with a season-ending injury. He helped lead the Packers to a Super Bowl XLV championship and recovered a key fumble by the Pittsburgh Steelers near the end of that game. In five seasons in Titletown, he had 292 tackles, nine sacks and nine passes defensed. Before his injury he was considered one of the best, if not the best of the Packers defenders.
With both D.J. Smith and Bishop out of the picture in Green Bay, it opens the door for Jones and Hawk to nail down the starting jobs for the Packers. It was unclear this afternoon if the Packers were planning to go looking for players to add depth to the position as they head toward the start of Training Camp.
Ironically, Nick Barnett is an available free agent after having been released by the Buffalo Bills earlier this spring.