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Point of Veau: Not Drinking the Kool-Aid on Bishop Being Gone as Part of "Numbers Game"

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Point of Veau: Not Drinking the Kool-Aid on Bishop Being Gone as Part of "Numbers Game"

Packers linebacker Desmond Bishop. Photo by Corey Behnke of CheeseheadTV.com.

Make no bones about it, Desmond Bishop will be released by the Green Bay Packers because they think he's not going to be the same player he once was after suffering a season-ending hamstring tear last season.

When news broke last evening that the Packers were planning to part ways Bishop, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Tyler Dunne said he had been told it was part of a "numbers game."

It's not as if I don't believe Dunne or trust his reporting. I just think his source, presumably within the Packers organization, is being insincere.

The Packers can get away with saying such a thing, because whatever the reason for cutting Bishop––whether it's injury related, contract related or depth related––they're apparently going to go through with it anyway. They'll be rolling with A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones as the starting inside linebackers in 2013.

Logically, the only thing that makes sense to me is that Packers have monitored Bishop's progress and rehab from last season's injury and have determined they're not going to see the 2010 and 2011 version of Bishop ever again.

It's not the first time general manager Ted Thompson has parted ways with a player coming off a major injury. It's probably not the tenth time. And in most cases, he ends up making the right decision. See Al Harris, Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, Nick Collins, etc.

One difference between Bishop and players like Harris, Clifton and Tauscher, however, is that Bishop is still on the sunny side of 30. At 28 years old, it's easy to assume Bishop still has at least two more productive years in him, which just so happens to be the length of his contract as it's currently structured.

Scheduled to make approximately $3.4 million in base salary in 2013 and $3.5 million in 2014, Bishop's contract is not exactly cost-prohibitive to a team that's in excess of $10 million under the salary cap.

Sure, the money the Packers save in releasing Bishop will go towards contract extensions to players like B.J. Raji, Morgan Burnett and Sam Shields. But if the Packers can get the same production they got from Bishop prior to injury, he's more than worth the price.

That's the catch, however. Bishop is a big "if" in terms of coming back from injury and being an impact-type of player once again in the NFL.

By chance Bishop comes back and becomes a starter for another team in the NFL, by chance he comes back and is the same 115-tackle, five-sack type of guy he was in 2011, the Packers will have made a major mistake.

There's no way a healthy Bishop isn't a better option than Hawk, Jones or any other inside linebacker on the Packers roster.

The odds of seeing a healthy Bishop anymore, however, are not good.

Bishop might claim to be "completely" healthy and be "110 percent" by the time training camp begins, but that means a whole lot of nothing.

It's quite possible Bishop is as healthy as he's going to get. But it's equally possible that Bishop that a healthy Bishop is only 85 percent of the player he once was in the prime of his career, because he more than likely has lost a step and won't have the same speed.

The only way we'll be able to tell is seeing if and when Bishop comes back and plays once again.

By saying Bishop was released as part of a "numbers game" can be viewed as a favor to a player of high character who has been loyal to the organization and not scare away other teams from signing him.

For the time being, Ted Thompson and the Packers front office gets the benefit of the doubt. But if he ends up being a quality starter for some other team in the NFL, this will perhaps end up being an inexcusable snafu.

For that, we wait.

Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email carriveau@uwalumni.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (72) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Chad Toporski's picture

"There’s no way a healthy Bishop is a better option than Hawk, Jones or any other inside linebacker on the Packers roster."

Something tells me you meant this sentence to read a little differently...

Brian Carriveau's picture

Yes, one word changed. Fixed.

mani2packers's picture

Yea he did! There is no way a healthy Bishop isn't a better option than Hawk or Jones.

mani2packers's picture

I believe the Packers are seeing something or really believing in Manning to let Bishop and Smith go.

KennyPayne's picture

Other than TT having to eat some crow, I have never understood the (overpaid) love affair with AJ Hawk and why he is still on the team.

Even after he took a reduced salary, his compensation is still out of whack for his minimal production.

Paying Hawk and cutting Bishop is the exact opposite of what I'd like to have happened.

PackerBacker's picture

TT's ego has nothing to do with it. Hawk is a reliable mid-level ILB who has STAYED HEALTHY for what, 7 years? Has he been paid too much $ - yes. That's what the rookie wage scale will fix. Is he poor enough to part ways with - No.

Lars's picture

Of course, it's Thompson keeping Hawk on the roster, though it's not ego. He just loves the guy like one would a son. You don't gift a mediocre pile jumper like Hawk with a $33 million dollar contract no matter how much he avoids injury by playing soft. It's nepotism plain and simple.

nick perry's picture

I'm confused, rookie wage scale? Thompson signed him to that crazy contract in 2010. Even with the reduced salary for this season, it's still to much. With that said, Hawk is reliable (Even if all tackles are 7 yards down field) and can be counted on to be there on Sunday afternoon. My guess is their counting on Manning to develop quickly and really like Lattimore as well, at least Moss does. As for Bishop, the fact that the Packers cut their best ILB and he got out of Minnesota without a contract would suggest that he's not what he was. Like everything else, time will tell.

Stroh's picture

WHat he's saying, since apparently you don't get it. Hawk was drafted per rookie wage scale. Got a huge contract as a rookie, then Hawk had his best season by far in 09 and got what amounted to a slight raise, based on his play the previous season, his rookie contract and leverage. They converged to force Thompson to sign Hawk in '10, thinking he would continue to play to that level. But it all started w/ a ridiculous rookie contract w/o a rookie wage scale.

I thought it was obvious what he was getting at... Try to keep up!

Jamie's picture

Sure, $3.4-3.5 million isn't prohibitive, but at the same time I would assume the Packers would be more than willing to give him a real a chance to regain his prior form if he were making a lot less and/or if they didn't feel as comfortable with the remaining MLBs.

Doesn't that then make a substantial portion of this decision about the numbers?

It's clearly about all three (injury, salary, depth)...IMO.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

So nice, I posted twice...

I guess I have no choice but to trust the medical staff on this one, BUT, I will follow his career, if he returns to form for another team… Well… I’ll write a strongly worded letter to Ted… STRONGLY! WORDED!

Mojo's picture

Due to contract considerations,the Packers have gone from a "player A and player B" team to a "player A or player B" team.

Must be a Pyrrhic victory for a player(with any team) to sign a big contract(unless you're deemed unexpendable, which mostly is at the QB position). On one hand, you're finally getting that big payday you worked so hard for, but on the other hand it makes you much more of a of a ball-and-chain to that teams cap-situation. It certainly gives you some incentive to skate by as much as possible to avoid injury. Because if you get injured....

Evan's picture

The rush to make a decision still doesn't make any sense to me.

If it's really just about doing Bishop a solid and giving him more time to land with a new team, well, that's very commendable, but not in the best interest of the Packers.

PACKERFREAK80's picture

I agree! not sure how this is going to turn out? he has been a good player for us and hard to see him go after seeing him hit on the feild! best play! picking off Brent for a TD

Idiot Fan's picture

That one was nice, but the shoestring tackle of Jackson in the Eagles playoff game is what will always give him a special place in my heart.

Mojo's picture

Yes, the shoestring tackle is Bishops best moment as a Packer. If he doesn't make that play, I think there's a very good chance Philly wins and no SB for GB.

Jamie's picture

Agree IDIOT and MOJO. That play is never mentioned because the Williams INT later actually sealed it, and yet was so unlikely (due to speed and quickness differences in the players), and important (due to the likely TD if he didn't make the tackle) that it deserves mention.

His 'Johnny on the spot' FR in the SB wasn't bad either, but that was more right place right time...though still VERY important to the SB win.

Idiot Fan's picture

Exactly. I still can't really believe that someone as big as Dez could bring down Jackson in a wide open field like that. Absolutely incredible.

I'm going to miss the 2010 version of Bishop.

Jamie's picture

I think it is important, in that it doesn't make sense to us, to concede that there are likely stronger factors here than we realize...due to our lack of inside info.

TT is one of the most patient GMs in the league, so it's gotta be something significant (or a combination of significant factors) to get to this point.

Stroh's picture

It'd nit about if he can be the same player. He probably can. Its about the risk of re-injury. He can come back strong but its HIGHLY likely to happen again. Could be 5 days 5 games 5 months 5 years. But its likely to happen again if he keeps playing football.

Lucky953's picture

I think you're right on the money Brian. The Bishop of 2010-2011 is well worth what they're paying him. He's not and will not be that player again. I think the Packers medical staff had serious reservations about Bishop's return ever since the injury occurred. People were asking, "why did they pay Jones so much?" Now we know. This isn't a recent decision. When the Packers decide a guy's best years are gone, they are usually right. Come on Terrell Manning! We need you.

Al Dante's picture

May be simply Bishop doesn't have it anymore. None of us know how he has or hasn't recovered from his injury or what doctors reports on his future are?
I would assume you let someone go because of the ability or lack of to play the position. Money does factor in but not always.

cheesewhizzer's picture

The Packers "love affair" with A.J. Hawk has nothing to do with performance or athletic ability. It has everything to do with one general manager's ego. GMs don't like to admit that a high first round draft choice they selected is a flop.

Both the Bears and Vikings are looking for middle linebackers. The thought of Bishop going to a division rivals like the Bears or Vikings and helping them beat us makes me sick!

Idiot Fan's picture

People say that a lot about Hawk and TT's ego, but we've seen other first-round picks come and go. They're even taking a wait-and-see approach to Raji, who was almost as high of a pick as Hawk. More likely, they think that he actually provides value in this defense, even if it's not in the flashy way that we fans would like.

Walty's picture

Stop. Your logic, it burns. Need more fuel for my TT hatred.

jeremy's picture

The Packers Love Affair with Hawk is about at least one other thing. Reliability, he's isn't the player we thought he would be on Draft day, but he is always available, and rarely makes schematic mistakes.

PadLevel's picture

When you are always the last one to jump on the pile, yes you will "always be available" beacuse you are never hurt. Schematic mistakes? Have you watched the tape closely? He always takes poor angles and is easily blocked out of play. Are you saying that that was the "scheme" coaches drew up for him? AJ is exhibit #1 for how a GM's ego clouds his judgement and hurts the team. I am sure if we did not have this many injuries last few years Teddy would have realized how marginal a player Hawk is.

cow42's picture

I'd rather have the 2010 Bishop over any version of Hawk.

But if I had to decide between the 2013 Hawk and the 1 legged 2013 version of Bishop... I'm takin' Hawk.

PackerPete's picture

I don't think there is a love affair. I am critical of Hawk, but there are some things one has to consider - Hawk so far in his career was hardly ever injured, he is very assignment sure (even though he isn't athletic enough to be a real difference maker) and hardly ever makes assignment mistakes. So based on experience, once can count on Hawk to show up for games. Bishop was often injured, and whether he will be the same remains to be seen. So yes, when he is healthy, he is better than Hawk, but if he can only play 50% of the time, then it may be better to go with Hawk.
If the past is any indicator, then the GMs ego is not a problem for the Packers at the moment.

Stroh's picture

That's an idiotic thing to say!

Nerd's picture

Even at his best, Bishop couldn't cover TEs.

A torn hamstring is a serious issue. Killed the career of Mark D'Onofrio.

And who knows? Maybe there's some off the field issue?

phillythedane's picture

Yep, D'Onofrio. Coaching staff loved him when healthy, but his hammy exploded and that was that.

Bishop is done and we knew it when he was on the trading block during the draft. TT's momma didn't raise no fool.

I have a sinking feeling Sherrod will never see the field again, as well.

PackerBacker's picture

Sherrod's in a different spot. Broken bones heal. Hammy's are not as reliable.

I bleed Green More's picture

Bishop was a great player, is he that same player we do not know. It has to be more than just the money, got to say this TT just moves on and he thinks he has the players to fill that spot.

MLecl0001's picture

Who cares if he goes somewhere else and does well? So long as the Packers do well I dont care if he goes somewhere else and gets 5 straight pro bowls.

What if next year he signs a 1 year deal with another team has a monster year and then signs a long term deal. Then starts his slide shortly thereafter?

What if during the next few years the Packers D bounces back and the Packers continue to go to the playoffs and win at least 1 more super bowl?

I think fans sometimes get too fixated on 1 player. As the saying goes better 1 year too early than 1 year too late.

Mojo's picture

I hope for his psyche, Hawk isn't aware of this website. Dude wouldn't get out of bed in the morning.

MarkinMadison's picture

Hawk says: I started in a Super Bowl. I have a ring. I have a hot wife. I have a few million in the bank. My psyche is fine.

Point Packer's picture

"And I could care less about CHTV, like 99.9999999999999999999% of the population."

Stroh's picture

LMAO

al's picture

thay must see something in TM to let DB go .

Fi cr's picture

Like to hear something from said Mr. Bishop

hayward4president's picture

Wow ..I just found out about this situation...n it makes me sick. Bish will be fine. TT is just cheap.

Nerd's picture

It's not like dude was sniffing the pro bowl, either way.

zeke's picture

"TT is just cheap."

Yeah, that explains the contracts for Rodgers and CM III and why the Packers have to worry about structuring contracts for players like Raji, Burnett, Finley, etc., because they'll be bumping up against the salary cap going forward. Because TT is cheap.

Point Packer's picture

Thank you. The TT is cheap comment was high on the "I'm a an idiot scale".

KennyPayne's picture

Agreed, how can one call TT cheap when he has lavished over $50,000,000 on a guy who even his fans concede is nothing more than assignment sure.

When you devote big buck to a guy like AJ Hawk someone has to pay the price and, much like it was while he sat for 3 years despite being better than Hawk or Barnett, Bishop is the one paying while AJ continues to collect mult-millions just for showing up

zeke's picture

$50 million?

KennyPayne's picture

Hawk was paid $37.5 million on his rookie contract and has collected $17.9 more on his second contract (thus far).

$55M+ for ...?

zeke's picture

I'm not an AJ Hawk fan, but his initial contract was for 33.75 million and he agreed to restructure his second contract from 17.8 down to 10.6 million. I agree that his play hasn't matched his pay, but it isn't (and won't be) 55 million.

Oppy's picture

Zeke, You are confusing Hawk's SECOND contract for his first, I think.

Hawk was drafted in 2006 and signed a 6-year, 37.75M dollar contract. He was release and resigned one day later in 2011, in part because the Packers wanted to avoid having to pay Hawk a 10m bonus and wanted to restructure and extend Hawk's deal to more favorable numbers. This new deal signed in may 2011 one day after he was released is the 33.75M, 5 year deal you were talking about- his SECOND deal. Now he's restructured again to even further lower his salary.

zeke's picture

My bad. Apologies, KennyPayne.

PackersRS's picture

This is a great article, Brian. Spot on on every paragraph.

MarkinMadison's picture

+1

Taco's picture

I don't think the Packers are serving up any Kool-Aid. They really don't care if anyone believes them or not. They're just trying to publicly do right by a guy who gave everything he could to the team. Their actions strongly suggest they're concerned about re-injury and are willing to release him early to let him catch on somewhere else. Surely there's a desperate team out there willing to take the chance.

perrin's picture

Turns out Bishop is just a Pawn on a team full of promising young Rooks. Aarons the King, Fack the ViQueens. Checkmate!

hayward4president's picture

Ur comment was high on the "kiss my a$$ scale". I have been watching the packers since the 4th grade n I'm 28 yrs old....can ya do the math? I will call TT cheap if I feel like it I have every right to voice my opinion.Ofcourse we will pay cm3 n Aaron we have to that's a given they are our big names. But bishop was the surest tackler on the team (yes more sure than clay). And I think if bishops deal wasn't over yet he should not have been let go. Until he suited up n hit someone I never know for sure. Eddie Lacy is a. ? when it comes to health and he's on the team isn't he ?

hayward4president's picture

U*

zeke's picture

Well said.

Oppy's picture

TT has proven over and over again that he takes care of guys financially. Driver received numerous pay raises from TT, so did Wood.

How about AJ Hawk? How about Brad Jones? Brandon Chillar got a decent paycheck. Ryan Grant. The list goes on and on.

Alot of the guys I just mentioned have actually been OVER paid.

You can call TT cheap all you want, and you're right, it's totally your prerogative to voice your opinion. But you should also know that your opinion isn't really supported by the facts. On that note, others have every right to respond to your opinion and let you know it's ill-informed and not well supported in any kind of fact.

hayward4president's picture

I don't mind arguing back n forth all day long that's pretty much why we are all on here. I just don't like being called an idiot. I'm far from it. Maybe cheap is the wrong word. Maybe.....unsupportable. I would just like to see an occasional risk that's all. Everything is just so....bland. I guess TT is getting a little more ...modern with his trades in the draft n actually drafting a running back n stuff like that. But grabbing a good free agent who actually costs a couple bucks and waiting to see if bishop was even half the guy he used to be woulda been nice.

dawg's picture

mmmmmmm, they better be right on this move!

Drealyn Williams's picture

Well,the 1 guy (vet) we have on defense with some nastiness is gone.

Eric's picture

If Jones continues to play as well as he did towards the end of last season, that will go a long way toward replacing Bishop. That being said, if it is about the numbers, I cannot believe they would keep Hawk. They make about the same money, but he brings some of the same limitations that Bishop has without some of the strengths. AJ has been consistent, and managed to stay on the field, as a packer, but he just is not a playmaker for the defense. He forces almost no fumbles, he doesn't grab interceptions (though linebackers usually don't do this) and he is not a great pass rushing presence from the inside. He is strictly a two-down player, and this is a league where you need to be able to play three.

hayward4president's picture

I think aj is one more haircut away from being good haha.

Robbie Henges's picture

Actually he was wrong on Clifton and taucher because he had to resign them half way through the season he cut them in......he was also wrong on long well sharper Barnett. Jenkins well who cares I think your right tho the pack take a little public heat say its a numbers game to try ans preserve a trade possibility or give him a little better chance to sign elsewhere. If its just his injury then I've got no problem as long as he isn't wrong

Brian Carriveau's picture

Wow, there couldn't be more factual errors in this comment. Tauscher was never cut until his career was over. In 2009, he was simply a free-agent before being resigned. Clifton wasn't cut until his career was over as well.

As far as Longwell, Sharper and Jenkins go, they simply left because they were free agents. Not because they were cut because of injuries.

And while injuries may have played a small part in Barnett's release, the bigger part of it had to do with his salary. And I wouldn't have called it a mistake.

Lars's picture

Dunne (an excellent correspondent) is just reoporting the Packer party line because that's what his sources are telling him. He can't just make things up like McGinn.

Here's the deal. The minute Jones was signed Bishop was gone. They were trying to trade him in the draft. Brian's right. He's gone.

Two reasons:
1. That injury was/is very severe---a torn tendon. It's a 9-12 month recovery time and often players with that injury either never return or are never the same. Too much money to risk on a 29 year old player who already was in slight decline.

2. (And we all know this one) Bishop has the misfortune of playing the same position, ILB, as Ted Thompson's boy, AJ Hawk. It doesn't matter how well or how badly Hawk performs (and he's mediocre at best), no one outside of TT and Mrs. Hawk would deny that.

It's not fair but that's the way it is in business sometimes, and even in sports' businesses which otherwise claim you have to compete for a job. Not if your name is AJ Hawk. We'll just get rid of your competition---Barnett, Bishop.

xuyee's picture

Barnett didn't last long in Buffalo either. Just saying. Also, AJ Hawk took a pay cut, something that doesn't happen unless TT is willing to cut you unless you play ball.

Hawk probably has too much guaranteed money to get cut now. I'm kinda hoping Bishop is okay and this is just a hard ball move to get him to take a pay cut, but probably the other MLBs are just better, healthier, or cheaper.

PadLevel's picture

McGinn makes up things? What an idiotic thing to say about the most respected Packers sportswriter. McGinn consistently speaks his mind without fearing the party line and has been critical of AJ Hawk from the very beginning. Agree with you on AJ Hawk, but McGinn is a nationally respected writer - one of the last remaining true sportswriters.

Oppy's picture

Spot on..

McGinn was just honored with the Dick McCann Memorial Award, which is named after the first director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in 2011. It is presented by the Pro Football Writers of America in recognition of long and distinguished reporting in the field of pro football. The honor was bestowed upon McGinn at the yearly inductions for the Pro Football HOF in Canton.

For anyone to imply Tyler Dunne outclasses Bob McGinn is simple naive. McGinn has been on the Packers beat since 1979, and developed several personal relationships with Packers coaches over his year, many of whom took McGinn under their wing so to speak and taught him the finer points of the game and how to assess talent and analyze film.

Dunne is a good writer, but he has nowhere near the feel and understanding of the game or the team that McGinn has.

BradHTX's picture

Guys, there are four arguments to never, ever get yourself into...

1) Tightwad Ted is a cheapskate for not signing overpriced free agents and for cutting injured, old players.

2) A.J. Hawk is terrible player and a total bust who only has his job because TT has a man-crush on him.

3) Bob McGinn is a lousy journalist who makes sh*t up.

4) Your wife saying, "I feel fat and ugly."

All four are losing propositions, because no matter how much evidence to the contrary you provide, the other person will never be convinced. You can't rationally argue against a position that isn't rationally held.

Oppy's picture

lol, point well taken. Anti-intellectualism has even seeped into the world of sports fan blogs.

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