The Green Bay Packers have once again released A.J. Hawk. possibly parting ways with the veteran linebacker for good this time. The Cincinnati Bengals, in need of someone at his position, might be the first to offer him a job.
A released player doesn’t need to wait until March 10 to sign with a team. Because the Packers cut him, Hawk, who has been in the NFL since 2006, winning a Super Bowl with the Packers and playing just for them, can talk and sign with whoever he wants when he wants.
Maybe this is just another way to get Hawks to restructure his deal? That was the case in 2011, but it seems that this time it has a lot more to do with Hawk’s age and ability rather than a trick to get him to take less money.
Hawk was a star for Ohio State in college with two unanimous All-American selections before heading off to the NFL, being the 5th all around pick for the Packers in the 2006 NFL draft. He’s been solid and consistent, but never outstanding or special, topping 100 combined tackles in a season five times, adding 19 sacks and 9 interceptions in his career.
The Bengals have Rey Maualuga hitting free agency as well, and might not re-sign him. Hawk might be a cheaper option and not much older (two years older than Maualuga). but counting on Hawk to hold the middle on his own without a solid backup isn’t the greatest of plans.
Still, don’t be surprised if Hawk ends up playing for the Packers in 2015. They did clear $3.5 million off the cap by releasing him, but him and his agent agreeing to a more team friendly deal with a hometown discount might pave the way for his return.