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Report: Packers Preparing to Part Ways with ILB Desmond Bishop

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Report: Packers Preparing to Part Ways with ILB Desmond Bishop

The Green Bay Packers are reportedly set to part ways with inside linebacker Desmond Bishop, who is still on the mend after missing the entire 2012 season with a torn hamstring.

An NFL source told Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee that the Packers will release Bishop unless a contract restructure or trade can be worked out. Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was told that the decision is based more on numbers than injury.

Bishop, 28, ruptured his hamstring during the Packers first preseason game August 9. He has missed the entire offseason program while waiting on medical clearance from the Packers staff, despite claiming to be "110 percent" last month.

Even without Bishop, the Packers have created adequate depth at the position.

In March, the Packers restructured the deal of A.J. Hawk and re-signed unrestricted free agent Brad Jones. Filling in for Bishop last season, Jones started the final 10 games of 2012 and earned himself a three-year, $11.75 million deal during free agency. After Hawk and Jones, the Packers depth chart at inside linebacker would be filled out by Rob Francois (who was also re-signed in March), 2012 fifth-round pick Terrell Manning, Jamari Lattimore and 2013 seventh-round pick Sam Barrington.

Jones was given starter's money, and the coaching staff remains high on Manning, who came on strong late last season after suffering through a training camp illness. Hawk and Jones will be expected to start in the base defense.

Financially, the Packers could save roughly $7.7 million in cap room over the next two seasons by releasing Bishop.

A sixth-round pick in 2007, Bishop took over as the Packers starting inside linebacker in 2010 and earned himself a four-year, $19 million deal following Green Bay's win in Super Bowl XLV.

Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at zachkruse2@gmail.com.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (51) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

cow42's picture

he's going to look ridiculous in purple.

Bibbon Hazel's picture

Now That's funny!

Idiot Fan's picture

Vikes and Bears could both be interested in him, which makes me very sad.

cow42's picture

Thought about the Bears... but they just drafted 2 ilb's. Figure a new coach would rather go with young guys.

cow42's picture

And unless the Bears plan on changing defensive schemes, Bishop doesn't fit what they need at ILB... He's not athletic enough. He's not a "drop back and defend the deep middle" type of player. He's at his best moving forward.

trvs's picture

oh snap. I was waiting for this article and for Cow42's response...that would be just crazy, but not surprising.

I think the dude can still play. I dont see him taking a pay cut. I really hope Terrell Manning is ridiculously good next to Jones.

He should want to stick around and prove his value right?

Evan's picture

I don't like this one bit.

PadLevel's picture

How are the Packers explaining this in the locker room? We want you the players to play your heart out, but by the way if you are injured we will cut you without letting you come back? And then there is AJ Hawk, our $50 Million Linebacker who is never injured because he is never the first guy to take the really vicious hits (ala Adrian Peterson or Frank Gore). AJ sure knows hot to milk the franchise - make just enough plays so that you can stay on the roster!

Bibbon Hazel's picture

Welcome to the NFL, son. Longevity is king. Health is everything. Oh yeah, and money too.

PadLevel's picture

Truth! Can't blame Tramon Williams or Shields now for their unwillingness to tackle. I thought the Packers had more class, this move is more Belichick-esque. I get that money is everything in the NFL, but this is some bad Karma!

Bibbon Hazel's picture

Bad purple Karma. They may get a few good starts.

zeke's picture

"Can’t blame Tramon Williams or Shields now for their unwillingness to tackle."

I'd bet that being healthy and unwilling to tackle would get them cut faster than being injured, and I'd go double-or-nothing that they would agree.

Lou's picture

Agreed, Hawk can't complain about his pay cut, he has made more money being a 2 down LB with the fewest impact plays per snap then anyone in NFL history. On the other hand Bishop is their best inside blitzer and he just drills RB's, stops them in their tracks and drives them backwards. On a "soft" defense that stands out so much because Hawk just grabs, holds on, and waits for help. If Bishop is healthy and goes to another team he will continue to be an impact player.

Evan's picture

I don't get the timing. Is there a bonus or something approaching? His trade value now is basically zero, so it's cut him or keep him. Why not wait till training camp/preseason and see if he's healthy. If he's the Bishop of old, great. Then they can keep him or, if they still want to get rid of him, his trade value will have increased. If he's not healthy, then at least they know and then they can cut him.

Stroh's picture

Cutting him after June 1 discipates the cap hit over 2 years instead of 1 year. The remaining prorated signing bonus would all count on this years cap if released prior to June 1. Any time after June 1, the cap hit is spread over '13 and '14. That's the reason for waiting.

I don't see how the injury isn't heavily involved. He tore the muscle away from the bone and that is MUCH worse than just a torn hamstring. Its usually a career ending injury. Matthews tears some muscle fibers and they heal, but it once the attachment to the bone is compromised its never the same and is highly likely to happen again. Feel bad for Bishop, but that's the NFL. Next man up.

Can't wait to see Manning become the playmaker I thought he could be even before we drafted him. He's a more athletic Bishop.

Idiot Fan's picture

I really hope you're right (about Dez and Manning), although for Dez's sake I hope it's not career-ending. Maybe the whole "it's a numbers thing, not an injury thing" is a smokescreen to help Dez find a job elsewhere?

PadLevel's picture

If it really a caree-ending injury, I don't get what they mean by "restructure his deal" or "trade to another team". We didn't see any of that with Nick Collins injury - they just released him plain and simple. This is surely a cap casualty - perhaps they manage cap at a more micro level i.e. Defense gets x% of the total cap and may be even more closely - perhaps Linebackers as a group get x% and so on.

Evan's picture

That's why none of it makes any sense.

If it's injury related, then why the offer to restructure?

If it's a numbers issue, then what's the rush? Why not let them all go to training camp/preseason and let the guys battle it out? Isn't competition supposed to bring the best out of players?

There is no doubt that there is a lot/too much money tied up in the ILBs, but that's not a reason to prematurely cut potentially the best one they have.

Idiot Fan's picture

With Collins it was a player-safety issue - they didn't feel right putting him on the field and putting him at risk. If they feel that Dez will never be the same player, but he's not at (increased) risk of a life-altering injury, then they could trade him or cut him. Anyway, it does all seem odd, but this is one of those times where you really have to hope that they have more info than we do and know what they're doing.

Evan's picture

"If they feel that Dez will never be the same player..."

I just don't know how they could know that with any certainty when he hasn't been on the field yet.

Above all else, I trust Ted. As Nagler pointed out on twitter, Ted has let a lot of vets go and not one has come back to bite him. I just question the timing of this.

Idiot Fan's picture

Maybe that's where the salary comes in. Perhaps they strongly suspect that his injury will hinder him moving forward, but they would be willing to take a chance on him at a cheaper price. But not at four million dollars or whatever. Just a guess.

Stroh's picture

Once the integrity of the muscle bone connection is compromised its HIGHLY likely to happen again. He might be fine for awhile but at some it will probably happen again.

If another team is willing to take the risk that's their choice. At his salary the Packers feel its not worth the risk.

FITZCORE 1252'S EVO's picture

Christ. Maybe the only thumper we have. 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!

Derek's picture

This move makes no sense to me. Why now?

Bibbon Hazel's picture

But in all seriousness. Logical business decisions have to be made in tough situations like this in order to continue a consistent healthy cap while practicing a draft and develop strategy. Sign your stars what they deserve within reason to age and production and cut them if you feel they can't perform up to that money or won't restructure. Especially if the medical evidence points that way. Then HOPE the remaining young players develop the exact same way Big D. Bishop did. Good luck to him. I'll miss that badass uncle of the Berenstain Bears looking wrecking ball of a man, but in the end, In Ted We Trust. (and in Manning we HOPE)

Pickens's picture

Wow...I will be so disappointed if this happened.... our D lacked toughness and he actually is a tough, hard nosed, football player...I don't get the direction of our D

Johnny's picture

Why not wait to see if he can play before cutting him?

Mojo's picture

There must be something going on behind the scenes. Remember this started at least on draft day, so they must have made their minds up a while ago. Maybe the new philosophy is to make a determination on injured players and move on if the they feel the odds of recovery are low. I wouldn't be surprised if they jettison Sherrod before the season starts unless he shows something in training camp.

Bummer - because prior to the injury Bishop was one of my favorite defensive players. Hope if this does go down he has a great remainder to his career, hopefully outside the division. He was a warrior for us. They must really like what they see in Manning and B. Jones, but weren't they on the field when Peterson and Kaepernick ran all over us?

Can't help but think that part of this is due to ARod and CM3's new extensions. Any veteran with a decent contract better watch out. Maybe that's not all bad. Anyway, we'll just have to get used to this.

Lucky953's picture

Stroh is right. He can't play. That's why they are letting him go. It's not for cap space, although that is a consequence. It's a damn shame

Chad Lundberg's picture

Nick Collins release was disappointing but not a surprise. This is surprising, since it seems almost as though it's only TT professing that Desmond is not adequate enough to play anymore.

The Packers medical staff is untrustworthy if anyone hasn't noticed.

Jamie's picture

"The Packers medical staff is untrustworthy if anyone hasn’t noticed."

Ummmm...wha??

Point Packer's picture

Yep, dumb comment.

Tibbits's picture

I'd say the medical staff is fine. They did just catch a big problem with Harris. The strength and conditioning coach might be suspect as we've had way too many injuries and only some of that is dumb luck. Those two are not the same.

Jamie's picture

Be it due to injury and/or the play of Brad Jones, the Packers no longer believe they need Bishop...and think there is better value for the cash/cap space being spent.

I do believe cap space is a part of the equation, due to the large number of valued Packers needing new contracts over the next two years.

GBPDAN's picture

Bummer

Point Packer's picture

Huge bummer, but there has to be more to this. Bishop has every incentive to say he's at 110%. Clearly management does not agree. If they did, there's no way he would not be coming back at his current numbers.

My guess is that his recovery has been less than successful and that TT sees his readjustment/trade and/or release as a path to signing some combination of free agents that are currently higher valued.

Or so I guess.

Either way, huge bummer as Dez has always been the thumper that the Pack needed on the inside. Lord knows that ain't Hawk. Jones hasn't shown that to date.

We'll see.

Chris's picture

Stuff like this must happen when you pay two guys on your roster 1/4th of the whole salary cap. You cannot keep plenty of 5 million earning players around who are not able to perform due to injury.
And you dont have the time to wait around for them to get better.

Nononsense's picture

If anyone should be cut its AJ Hawk. I would rather have a questionable Bishop than a fully healthy Hawk on his best day.

I know Hawk is basically uncuttable because of his stupid pay cut roster bonus bullshit but he should not be starting period. If Bishop has to go than the only way I can stomach it is if Hawk still finds himself on the bench

Having Bishop and Jones I thought for sure Hawk would be relegated to backup duty but no, TT has to manufacture ways to keep Hawk on the field. Thats what if feels like to me anyway. Good grief.

TedTheSledge's picture

Most .... appropriate .... posting .... handle .... ever.

redlights's picture

+1

GBPDAN's picture

I was worried about this, I had so much hope for Bishop to come back. For the Pack to sign jones and work hawks pay like they did, the hand writing was on the wall. They must have known he wasn't going to contribute this year, or maybe never again at the same level. Im curious to see what bishop does. If the pack is offering him a reconstructed deal and bishop doesn't take it, then bishop and his camp must feel that he will be able to play again, at some point, elsewhere. This sucks. But, TT does need to sign Raji, Shields and others. Im praying that Manning is the real deal

mark's picture

Packers have been carrying too many unhealthy players on the roster for too long (Harrell, Sherrod, Worthy, Quarless, etc). Injuries are of course part of the game, but cutting ties with Jennings and now Bishop, I see this as part of a top-down movement to simply get more healthy bodies on the roster.

Three other factors are also likely at play here...

1) Packers like what they have at ILB
2) They want to keep BJ Raji
3) They worried about Bishop's injury

redlights's picture

Yeah, Stroh is right; his injury won't allow him to be worth his contract this year, and its too much money with too many alternatives to hang on to him until 2014.

I also remember Bishop having a hard time getting on the field his first two years. MM claimed he missed too many assignments; but I wondered if Dez was too whiny or just a pain or uncoachable and that hasn't endeared him to the coaches.

The big contracts are nice rewards for players, but it also makes you a bigger target if the player doesn't perform. Arodg had that in mind with his contract that makes quite affordable on the back end.

redlights's picture

Might I add that this puts G. Harrell; Kuhn; and maybe even T. Williams on notice. They have contracts that can be reduced by their competitors. Though I will give you that Kuhn, like Hawk, brings more to the team than stats.

MarkinMadison's picture

Well, sounds like the Packers dangled Bishop as trade bait during the draft and no one bit. So you can be sure the Packers will get little to nothing for him now. Stroh is right about the cap spread, so now makes the most sense. They are actually doing Bishop a favor if they cut him sooner than later, and I think any thoughts of holding onto him to increase his value for the Packers is just wishful thinking. Either they keep him or they cut him, because no one will give them jack for a guy with a big contract and a big injury question mark over his head.

Evan's picture

"Stroh is right about the cap spread, so now makes the most sense."

Stroh pointed out that June 1 was the cut-off date to spread the cap hit over 2 years. Since that's already passed, there isn't any difference between cutting him now or in 2 months. Unless I'm misunderstanding something.

Stroh's picture

Like Mark said. Doing Bishop a favor and a chance to work out for other teams and find a team thag will give him a chance.

cow42's picture

Hell - they never play base anyhow.
I liked Bishop but he never was any sort of stand-out athlete. He's basically a more agressive Hawk.

After watching the playoff game vs the 49ers, I was convinced that this team needed to get more physical... After re-watching the game it looks more like the Packers were just too slow. Bishop would have been 10 yards behind Kprnck just like everyone else.

Their offseason moves have actually suggested that (on the defensive side of the ball) they have decided to get faster and more athletic...

1.The Jones pick
2.Bishop leaving moves all of the younger/more athletic guys behind him up a notch.

I also bet we see a lot more of Matthews inside... not in base, but in various packages... maybe that's why their toying with Neal at OLB.
Remember what a great job CMIII did vs. the Eagles in the 2010 payoff game? If I remember correctly, He lined up inside most of the the game... spied Vick, came on an occasional delayed rush.

If Neal and Perry can provide some edge rush (with Jones and Raji inside) it would allow Capers to use Clay in the middle of the field.

The Packers are trying to get faster. Having Bishop on the field would not have helped in that regard.

Hope Jones is the real deal.

Hope Stroh's right about Manning.

jeremy's picture

"Their offseason moves have actually suggested that (on the defensive side of the ball) they have decided to get faster and more athletic…"

I think this is spot on.

The resigning of Brad Jones shows this too. Bishops Hammy is going to do nothing for his quickness. My worry is still Hawk, who plays very cautiously.

ArodMoney's picture

Not sure what game you are thinking of, but that's not what Matthews did in the Eagles playoff game.

trvs's picture

That would actually be a pretty serious defensive look. Just might work...

Perry, Raji, Jones, Neal
Jones, Mathews
Williams, Hayward, Shields
Burnett, McMillian

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