Hawk Will Get Paid

A.J. Hawk will end up making a bit more in 2011 than he was slated to make before the Packers cut him.

From Tom Silverstein:

The Packers cut linebacker A.J. Hawk last week because they didn't want to pay him a guaranteed $10 million in the last year of his deal, but in the end Hawk got back his money - plus a little more - in the first year of his long-term deal.

The Packers signed Hawk to a five-year, $33.75 million deal  that includes a first-year salary of around $11 million, a source with access to NFL salary data said Monday.

Hawk's deal includes an $8 million signing bonus, the source said, a $1.8 million roster bonus and a base salary of $1.15 million in 2011, which adds up to $10.95 million in first-year pay.

The signing bonus is the only guaranteed money, but Hawk is all but certain to get the first-year base salary and has a good shot at earning all of the roster bonus.

So the Packers cut him because they didn't want to pay him - and then paid him.

I realize there is some grand-poohbah capologist reason for this move, but as a salary cap simpleton the possible reasons are completely escaping me. Any thoughts are welcome in the comments section.

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Comments (16)

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Andrew's picture

March 07, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Because signing bonus is applied capwise across all years of contract. If it had remained as a base salary it would have all counted next year.

What's interesting is the Packers' recent trend has been to give roster bonuses instead of signing bonuses to push the cap hit into the first year and then have a cheap player later. Suggests that they're worried about the cap next year.

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PackerAaron's picture

March 07, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Excellent point - missed that it was a signing and not a roster bonus. And you're right - they almost never do those anymore. When Andrew Brandt first came on Transplants he explained how they made a concerted effort to tie money to roster and workout bonus' rather than signing bonus'. Great catch.

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Josh's picture

March 07, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Signing bonuses don't prorate. That ended with the cap.

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PackerAaron's picture

March 07, 2011 at 10:56 pm

But they will if the cap comes back, which it almost certainly will.

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Brian Carriveau's picture

March 08, 2011 at 07:16 am

Tom tweeted that they'll save something in the realm of $6 million in salary cap savings.

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jeremy's picture

March 07, 2011 at 10:33 pm

"Suggests that they’re worried about the cap next year."

They should be cautious. If the owners get what they want the cap will be a bit less than 140mil. The 2009 nfl cap rose 12mil to 129 million. At that rate the 2011 cap would be 153mil. Most estimates are saying the 2011 cap will be 140-150 mil. The Packers have 129mil committed already because of big contract years for Jennings and others. And, they are going to have to pay Finley soon. With Barnett, Tauscher, Poppinga and Lee all likely gone they will clear out 10+ mil more room. Just be glad they are not the Cowboys or Raiders who may have to cut a bunch of guys if the new cap is low.

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Josh's picture

March 07, 2011 at 10:45 pm

John Clayton has been reporting the owners are pushing for a 120M cap.

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jeremy's picture

March 08, 2011 at 12:18 am

Interesting, I hadn't seen that number. 140mil is 50% for players after 2bil off the top 2010 total revenue.

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BubbaOne's picture

March 07, 2011 at 11:29 pm

I don't think this is true BUT...Since the contract was done before this year ended is it possible some or all the signing bonus is applied to 2010 and not 2011?

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Idiot Fan's picture

March 07, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Also, it sounds like a lot for one year, but that's just because it's the first year of a new deal. In the first year of his new deal (when he gets it), Payton Manning will probably earn $30M or more due to bonuses, but he's not really making $30M per year. Averaged out (assuming he plays out the five years) we got Hawk for $6-7 million per year, which seems reasonable enough.

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DaveK's picture

March 08, 2011 at 12:14 am

First year of this deal pays him the same as the last year of his prior deal. That is probably what it took for the Packers to get him to sign a five year deal and not test FA. The Packers wanted Hawk long term and Hawk wasn't willing to take a pay cut next year. Appears they found a way to make both sides happy.

At this price, the Packers could have let Hawk test FA and gone with Barnett at ILB. This tells me they really value Hawk more then Barnett at this point.

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joe packer's picture

March 08, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Seems odd to me. I'll miss Nick. My guess is Hawk's finally come up to speed and so, in Ted's view, has more upside of the future scheme.

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NoWayJose's picture

March 08, 2011 at 10:43 am

I thought Hawk ends up getting a very good deal for himself here. Considering some of the team-friendly deals that the Packers have scored lately (Tramon W, Desmond B), I was a little suprised with this one.

Hawk does not play a premium value position and is not a blue-chip player, but he is getting top 10 money on the team. Considering the guys who do play premium positions (Matthews, Raji, QB1)and other blue chippers (Finley, Sitton) coming down the contract pike, a little surprising.

Oh well, I trust Uncle Ted to figure it all out for me.

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Oppy's picture

March 08, 2011 at 06:55 pm

Well, we all know AJ Hawk did a good job of handling the duties of calling the D and making adjustments last season.

Maybe what we don't realize is that he made an awful lot of really, really good reads and completely changed calls and coverages in key situations to make vital stops throughout the season.. Perhaps his understanding of this D and his ability to read offensive formations and personnel groupings is off the charts.

Who knows? I don't, but those guys over there at 1225 have inside information, they must know something.

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Phillip's picture

March 08, 2011 at 04:17 pm

That's a good defensive player..... And they should give him what he deserves

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Point Packer's picture

March 18, 2011 at 08:08 pm

Shocked at first, but I agree that AJ comes across as bright and an understanding of an the field x's and o's in pressure sitautions is a luxury many teams don't have at linebacker - let alone their defense.

I trust Ted on this one.

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