Packers Cut Hawk, Lee & Martin

A.J. Hawk, Donald Lee and Derrick Martin have been cut by the Green Bay Packers.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN on his Twitter account:

Here's a shocker: Packers cut LB A.J. Hawk today.

Hawk was scheduled to make $10 million next season, which would have been guaranteed on the first day of the league year. With the CBA set to expire Thursday evening, the Packers made sure they did not have to pay Hawk.

The inside linebacker had what's very likely his best season as a professional in 2010 in which he led the team in tackles with 111 and tied for the NFL lead in intereptions among linebackers with three.

Being cut doesn't necessarily spell the end of his time in Green Bay, although it does make it less likely. It's possible he could still sign with the Packers.

However, the Packers have decent depth at inside linebacker with Desmond Bishop, Nick Barnett and Brandon Chillar all under contract for 2011.

Head coach Mike McCarthy recently said at the NFL Combine that Bishop would be a starter no matter what happened with Hawk. Barnett and Chillar are coming off season-ending injuries that landed them on injured reserve in 2010.

UPDATE, 5:03 p.m.:

“With A.J., the business side of the game is driving this decision," said general manager Ted Thompson in a release. "We’re hopeful that we can continue to work with A.J. to have him be a part of our team in the future.”

Tight end Donald Lee and safety Derrick Martin have also been released.

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Comments (54)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Josh's picture

March 02, 2011 at 05:40 pm

Hawk is clipped, eliminating a HUGE HOLE in the defense.

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Oppy's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:10 pm

Hawk was a "HUGE HOLE" in the defense? Is that what you're saying?

Um, seriously?

Did you watch AJ hawk play this season, or are you just saying that because you decided Hawk was a bust a year or two ago and you're just sticking by your guns?

Hawk had a solid year, and the defense solidified and improved with him calling in the plays and making the adjustments.

He might not be a lights-out all pro, but he certainly was nowhere near a liability in 2010.

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Chucking Wood 21's picture

March 02, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Amen

+1

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al's picture

March 03, 2011 at 01:27 am

agreed, we need to workout this deal with Hawk, keep him for long term and cut Barnetts ass. Bishop and Hawk are the future of at ILB for at least the next 5 years if we work this right

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Josh's picture

March 03, 2011 at 07:11 am

He didn't earn a starting spot in any part of the defense, he moved into there after the injuries hit. The guy is average, nothing more.

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PackersRS's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:15 pm

You do know that Hawk led the LEAGUE in LB ints, and led GB with 111 combined tackles, right? Oh, and he was the defensive playcaller...

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Astyak's picture

March 02, 2011 at 05:42 pm

Two years ago I would've rejoiced at this. Now, it seems a little sad. He finally looked time the backer we thought he was going to be. Good to know we have depth.

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Josh's picture

March 02, 2011 at 05:50 pm

They only played him after the injuries hit. He didn't earn a starting spot this year or the prior year. He was playing due to his contract. Bishop was great last 2 preseasons and is only now showing that he is better.

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andrew's picture

March 03, 2011 at 01:13 am

hahaha what are you talking about??!?! hawk has been the starter.. bishop only played cause injuries hit.. your crazy man

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jeremy's picture

March 02, 2011 at 05:43 pm

Crap!

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JerseyPackFan's picture

March 02, 2011 at 05:43 pm

Wow. I just told my son they cut him and he started crying. The poor little guy loved watching him play. Good luck AJ!!

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Josh's picture

March 02, 2011 at 05:52 pm

Your son liked watching him wait 7 yards before getting a "tackle." Your son enjoyed watching him whiff, or get dragged down the field?

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JerseyPackFan's picture

March 02, 2011 at 05:55 pm

The kid is 10 years old. I know he isn't that great.

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Tommyboy's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:03 pm

Nice work, Josh. No, really - classy.

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Josh's picture

March 03, 2011 at 07:12 am

Did I go to his kid and tell him that he was wrong or talk to his dad?

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PackersRS's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:10 pm

Very, very classy.

Make your case by bashing a 10 year old.

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Oppy's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:13 pm

Josh, don't forget to tell his son that Santa doesn't exist and that we all die someday.

Oh, and pee on his pb&j sandwich, and tell him he's got girl cooties.

Jeepers, it's a little kid.

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Jeremey's picture

March 02, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Ahh haaa haaa haa LOLOL!!
Silly goose!

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Paul's picture

March 02, 2011 at 05:45 pm

Good luck to A.J. He was a top player and instrumental in our SB winning D. However it's a business and we have a log jam at ILB. Wish him the best though.

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alfredomartinez's picture

March 02, 2011 at 05:45 pm

i...am...shocked...

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buttercup22's picture

March 02, 2011 at 05:51 pm

This makes me very sad. He was quickly becoming one of my favorite players to watch on the field. I hope they can get him to resign!

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Wiscokid's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:06 pm

Wow.

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PackersRS's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:12 pm

Hopefully he re-signs.
I don't see him drawing much attention to other teams. His value is as an assignment sure LB who's great at playcalling, but doesn't have the athleticism to cover man TEs and RBs, and isn't a thumper.
To us, he's valuable, but I don't see many teams needing this kind of player.

Still, I'm more surprised that we didn't cut Chillar.

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Oppy's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:19 pm

I commented on twitter about this, saying that while I mostly agree, you have to factor in that there are a ton of teams that have just converted from 4-3 defenses to a 3-4 front (almost half the league now), and AJ Hawk's value to those teams could be somewhat inflated because he is now proven as a 3-4 LB who can handle calling out the plays, read offensive shifts and personnel, and make all the adjustments.

The 3-4 D is notorious for the sheer volume of moving parts- a small shift by the offense can change everyone's assignments at times- and AJ was responsible for making declarations and calling coverages.. And he did so for a SB winning, top ten defense.

I think the timing with so many teams entering year 2 of the switch to 3-4 and Hawk performing well in his role will bolster his value a bit. That said, I think (and hope) he stays a Packer.

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PackersRS's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:29 pm

I agree, but let's look at those teams.
Houston got Ryans. Who else is changing?

Right now, not looking in depth, I can only see Miami looking for a playcaller. But I think Dansby is doing it.

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Ct Sharpe Cheddar's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:41 pm

I never was the greatest Donald Lee fan his careless ball handling got Finley knocked out for the season in the Redskin game.

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BoxStuffer's picture

March 02, 2011 at 06:42 pm

This doesn't seem like a surprise to me. He was definitely NOT getting $10 million next year from the Packers. I bet he still re-signs at a lower price. I thought they'd been trying to restructure his contract for some time now.

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jack in jersey city's picture

March 02, 2011 at 07:22 pm

i would also like to see hawk resigned at a lower price. i've heard through the grapevine that he loves living in green bay and playing for the packers. he had his best year yet and plays really well with desmond bishop who we now know is definitely the other starting ILB. restructure his contract and bring him back!

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Jesse's picture

March 02, 2011 at 07:12 pm

Now would have been as good time as any to cut Justin Harrell.

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NoWayJose's picture

March 02, 2011 at 07:32 pm

Hawk will re-sign.

Good luck to Donald Lee! Glad he's leaving the Packers as a champion. I hope he finds another NFL job if he wants it, but it seems unlikley.

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lebowski's picture

March 02, 2011 at 07:32 pm

Brandon Chillar played like crap before he got hurt and Barnett has had season-ending injuries twice now. Bring back Hawk.

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bogmon's picture

March 02, 2011 at 07:50 pm

Hawk will be back..they had to do it this way given the uncertain nature of things without a CBA etc.

I gotta say goodbye to Nick Barnett. I'm not sure he grasped the defense as well as Hawk and he can't stay on the field.
His best days are behind him.

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andrew's picture

March 03, 2011 at 01:16 am

+1

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BrianD's picture

March 02, 2011 at 07:38 pm

Chillar/Barnett may not have been cut in order for the Packers to use them as leverage in a Hawk contract extension. If 2 MLB, or even 3 were cut, Hawk could look for more money, as the Packers wouldn't have any fallback options. Of course, there's always the issue of playing time with all those MLB on the roster.

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PackersRS's picture

March 02, 2011 at 07:40 pm

Great point.

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NoWayJose's picture

March 02, 2011 at 08:13 pm

Does anyone know if Chillar/Barnett earned any guaranteed money by virtue of not being cut (and thus being on the roster tomorrow), the way Hawk was guaranteed 10.5M?

For example, if we re-sign Hawk tomorrow and cut Barnett in a few weeks, do we eat any salary?

Was Hawk's contract unique in that the 10.5 figure was "guaranteed" on the first day of the league year?

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PackersRS's picture

March 02, 2011 at 08:30 pm

I think that was the case.

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Ruppert's picture

March 02, 2011 at 11:18 pm

They not only had to cut Hawk a check for all $10.5 mil on the 1st day of the new business year, the Pack would have to count the entire amount towards a salary cap for 2011, assuming there is going to be one.

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PackerAaron's picture

March 02, 2011 at 08:48 pm

Chillar's salary is $2 million in 2011. Barnett's is $5.5 million + a $375,000 roster bonus and a $150,000 workout bonus. No idea what the language is on what portions of their salaries are guaranteed when.

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NoWayJose's picture

March 02, 2011 at 09:40 pm

Interesting, I assume that no one else (at least, no one else in consideration for being cut) had guaranteed money kicking in tomorrow or we would have heard of it.

Barnett's roster bonus of $375 is fairly significant though. It will be interesting to see when that comes due. I think it can vary, but its usually around May 1 or June 1.

This MLB business might stretch out till then or it could be over very quick. It would not shock me to see Hawk signed tomorrow and Barnett cut the same day.

I would think the Packers will not string him out if he is not in their plans, and they get Hawk re-signed.

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 02, 2011 at 08:02 pm

We'll see what the market holds for Hawk. Right now, that's zero until the CBA gets done, if I understand the situation correctly. Keeping Hawk in the fold may very much depend on how diplomatically the negotiations are handled. Not necessarily the strong suit in Green Bay right now. In the end I hope they pay Hawk what the market bears and cut Chillar or Barnett lose. IF they don't look for the Packers to draft a MLB prospect, because I don't think that Barnett is on the 2012 roster in Green Bay.

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ILpackfan's picture

March 02, 2011 at 09:07 pm

Bring back hawk please TT

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 02, 2011 at 09:34 pm

Underwood pled no contest today to a charge of (basically) soliciting a prostitute. I kind of expected this given that the investigation of Underwood was never closed, and given that his defense was basically, "I didn't rape those two street walkers." Whether it would have taken this long to resolve the charge for me or you is something that is beyond the realm of my personal or professional experience.

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PkrNboro's picture

March 02, 2011 at 09:40 pm

While a valuable member of the team, I've never thought of Hawk as a "franchise" type player -- in the mold of CM3, Rodgers, etc.

Yet that was the money he would have been paid this season:

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d81e4d644/article/potential-franchi...

I wouldn't be surprised to see more moves at linebacker...
A poster (here, or at GBPG) mentioned that Chillar wasn't the greatest at covering TEs, and that GB wasn't successful until Woodson assumed the duty. Additionally, Chillar didn't play the outside that well, but it may have been injury-related. He may be on the light-side to play inside.
Nick Barnett will be 30 when play resumes, and with 2 of the last 3 seasons ending on IR he may be more liability than asset. I'd be all for paying his money to Hawk...

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Edward's picture

March 02, 2011 at 09:51 pm

Ol' TT is freeing up cash to sign Nnamdi Asomugha.

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Nerdmann's picture

March 02, 2011 at 10:26 pm

LOL. +1!

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WoodyG's picture

March 02, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Funny ..... How just a year ago ...... Most wanted AJ run out of town on the closest railcar ...... Fast-forward to today & most fear a GB defense without him ...... But what has really changed ? ..... Although he may have had his best season in 2010 (the pundits say), he's always been solid & always available to play ......

The perils & expectations that come with being a top-ten pick .....

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Nerdmann's picture

March 02, 2011 at 10:27 pm

Thing about AJ is he shows up week in and week out. Capers knows how to get the most out of his players, and it shows with Hawk. He's been above average, statistically at least. Got dragged around a bit earlier in the year.
But the dude is available, consistently.
Hope they resign him, so they can trade Barnett in the draft.

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WoodyG's picture

March 02, 2011 at 10:47 pm

A little more info:

" Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports Hawk and the Packers will continue to talk through tomorrow night in hopes of getting a deal done. While that will be tough to accomplish, it’s a good sign that both sides would like to come up with a contract that makes sense. "

Plus .....

“With A.J., the business side of the game is driving this decision,” Thompson said. “We’re hopeful that we can continue to work with A.J. to have him be a part of our team in the future.”

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ZUB's picture

March 02, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Packer fans are great and loyal fans. It will be interesting to see what the rest of the league thinks Hawks skills are worth.

IMO he is a good football player. Some team will want him to be an every down player. In GB he will have to split time with Chillar even if he beats out Barnett for the starting position.

He will take a little less money somewhere else to be the guy.

The way he finished this season was just unbelievable when you take into account he did not get any playing time the first game of the season against the Eagles.

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Josh's picture

March 02, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Hawk is back apparently he is flying to green bay tomorrow to sign a 5 yr deal

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jack in jersey city's picture

March 03, 2011 at 01:14 am

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andrew's picture

March 03, 2011 at 01:21 am

hawk deserves the contract.. barnett is unreliable.. hawk is a great playcaller and was a boost to the defense... chillar should go too.. i want me some casey matthews in the draft! he is instinctual and if he is anything at all like his brother once he gets in to the NFL he will be able to put on some size.. i think casey will make a great 3rd MLB on the roster but barnett and chillar really dont deserve to stay over hawk.. two years of season ending injuries and chillar getting that fat stack of a contract for what i considered subpar play one of TTs biggest mistakes in recent years

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