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Packers Release LB A.J. Hawk, Gain $3.5 Million in Cap Space

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Packers Release LB A.J. Hawk, Gain $3.5 Million in Cap Space

Former Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk—Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports.

Former Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk—Derick E. Hingle, USA TODAY Sports.

The Green Bay Packers released veteran linebacker A.J. Hawk on Tuesday.

As a result of Hawk's release, the Packers will gain $3.5 million in salary cap relief in 2015, however, he'll still count $1.6 million in dead money against their cap.

“A.J. is a consummate Packer and we are grateful for all that he has given and how he represented the organization over the past nine seasons,” general manager Ted Thompson said. “He was a durable and consistent contributor to our success, but more importantly, he is a great person and teammate. The Packers are grateful for all that he has done on the field and in the community. We wish A.J., his wife Laura, and the rest of their family all the best.”

Hawk ranks No. 1 in franchise history with 1,118 tackles, surpassing the mark previously set by John Anderson.

In 2010, Hawk had arguably his best season as a pro, helping the Packers win Super Bowl XLV and being named to his only Pro Bowl. He was a voted as a playoff captain three times in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

“I spent nine great years in Green Bay," said Hawk. "I had awesome teammates and coaches and a great medical staff and equipment staff. Many of them have become my closest friends. We won a ton of games, as well as a Super Bowl, and I loved everything about playing for one of the greatest franchises in all of sports.

"The fans in Green Bay are incredible. Between playing at Lambeau Field as well as seeing them on the road, they always supported us. I am looking forward to my next opportunity in the NFL, but I’ll always cherish my years as a Green Bay Packer.”

Hawk was selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft (No. 5 overall). In nine seasons with Green Bay, he appeared in a 142 of a possible 144 regular-season games, starting 136, showing that durability was one of his best assets.

The release of Hawk comes on the heels of the release of fellow linebacker Brad Jones, who was cut this past Friday.

Between Hawk and Jones, the Packers have gained $7.25 million on the 2015 salary cap, putting them roughly $30 million under the projected $143 million ceiling.

Remaining on the roster at the inside linebacker position are an inexperienced bunch, led by Sam Barrington but also including rookies Carl Bradford and Joe Thomas, neither of whom have taken a regular-season snap in the NFL. Jamari Lattimore is an impending free agent.

Clay Matthews also remains in Green Bay, although it wouldn't appear a full-time switch to the inside is in the works.

Hawk spoke out on the topic of his release by recording a special episode of his HawkCast podcast, mentioning that he was informed nearly a week prior of his release with the team holding off while Hawk was taking part on a charity fundraiser on a cruise ship.

Hawk described the Packers organization as "classy" in how they handled his release and also goes onto describe his post-season surgery and how he's being released as a "failed physical":

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (46) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Packer_Pete's picture

Well, was to be expected. Thank you AJ, and all the best!

KenEllis's picture

Slocum - check.

Bostick - check.

B. Jones - check.

Hawk - check.

What a wonderful, wonderful day. Only about 4 years overdue.

The "soft underbelly" of our D can take all that money we paid him and head off into the sunset.

4thand1's picture

Well put DDS.

KenEllis's picture

AJ seems like a fine fellow, and I am in no way attacking AJ personally.

However, Hawk the player was a detriment to the Packers.

If life were fair, nice guy AJ would have stuffed ahole Marshawn Lynch in the NFC Championship game. Alas, Lynch ran right through Hawk like a knife through butter.

Hawk was paid way too much $ for far little production.

Evan's picture

Ultimate professional.

Best of luck to him.

Wilson Maywick's picture

Hawk should look good in Vikings purple.

badaxed's picture

Yeah! he can tackle our running back ten yards downfield!

FITZCORE1252's picture

Good guy. Good Packer. Good move.

pooch's picture

A bit slow on the AJ news

PackerAaron's picture

You going to be ok pooch?

Bearmeat's picture

Great move. If you have to get better at a position, don't mess around with "meh" for any longer. Force change.

This seems just like the FS position last year. MM moves Hyde and then TT drafts HHCD.

Maybe TT continues the trend of LB pickups in FA? You've got to think so. Rolando McClain, Brandon Spikes, Sam Acho and Bruce Carter all are going to be available for relatively modest deals a couple weeks into FA.

Just saying...

Tundraboy's picture

Sounds like a plan!!!!!

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

Anyone wanna buy my Hawk jersey? Class guy and good "Packer people." Good luck in Minnesota AJ.

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

Green Bay's all-time franchise leader in tackles. A warrior for 9 years for the Packers. Time to move on, though. We need a beast in this years draft. Hopefully there's one available at 30.

badaxed's picture

YES! should have been done last year,

Tundraboy's picture

Great news. Sends a message to rest of team, we mean business. Now let's sign Cobb and Bulaga and then go get the ILB, DE, DT we need to make the D one to fear.

stockholder's picture

3 picks better be Line backers. TT prayed for Hawk to be there when he drafted him. We all better pray he finds better in this draft. Mathews will earn his money at ILB. If he goes down than what?

GRB1531's picture

Why do people think that Mathews belongs on the outside.Check his tackles as an outside LB during his career on the packers. 306 total and 231 solo. This year was his highest total and that was because they let him roam.

pooch's picture

Great post hope Dom and Mike are reading this

DrealynWilliams's picture

We sure are making quite a bit of cap space room.

1. Not much experience at ILB

2. I bet we (either) pick up a pretty good ILB via FA or pick up a decent vet and go 2 ILBs at some point in the draft.

3. I honestly feel TT will be a bit more aggressive this offseason/season. Can't really explain why or how. Just a feeling after seeing/reading upon these types of moves. I keep asking myself, "why now?"

4. I wonder how high CB is on TT's/Dom's/MM's board.

Nick Perry's picture

You have to love the way the Packers did this, class all the way. Same with Hawk, a reliable professional. Hawk lived the right way, never embarrassed the Packers off the field, and was there every Sunday. At times he drove me nuts, but I always knew he'd be there to do it.

I agree, I have a feeling he might go after say Bruce Carter if the price isn't to high. Carter has been relatively healthy playing a average of 14 games the last 2 seasons. Obviously he's addressing in the draft but the Packers are pretty slim at ILB at this point. I'd think he'll add a veteran if the price is right. Carter could be a 3 down ILB too.

DrealynWilliams's picture

"You have to love the way the Packers did this, class all the way."

That's the norm (speaking for us). I don't expect anything less. I still remember the way Coach MM carried himself and represented the organization after the Fail Mary.

4thand1's picture

This should be the last piece of the puzzle to win it all this year. ST can only improve, can't drop any lower. D will be quicker and better up the middle. Hell the Pack should have won it all this time. They will be better now.

Amanofthenorth's picture

170 games played at inside linebacker. Four forced fumbles.
Jarret Boykin and Peppers each had four this year.

Ok. Now I'm in to this. Why forced fumbles aren't made more of as a defensive tell is beyond me. Here's the list if all time forced fumbles. Studs everyone:
http://www.playerfilter.com/nfl/most-forced-fumbles/#/g,u;ffum,desc,r;de...

RCPackerFan's picture

I have always liked Hawk. Yes he wasn't the playmaking player many of us thought he would be when we drafted him. But he has been very solid, and has always played. Missing 2 games in 9 years.

Also lets go back and look at that draft. There weren't many great players in that draft. Also look at how many of the top 10 teams are still with their original teams.

Mario Williams, has been with 2 teams.
Reggie Bush was just released from his 3rd team.
Vince Young is out of the league
D'Brickashaw Ferguson is still with the Jets,
Hawk was just released.
Vernon Davis is still with the 49ers
Michael Huff has been with multiple teams
Donte Whitner has been with multiple teams
Ernie Sims is basically out of the league
Matt Leinart has been out of the league

The only 2 players now left with the team that drafted them are Ferguson and Davis.
Longevity with a team says something good about a player.

I appreciate what he has done for Green Bay, and the fact that he has always been a class act.

DrealynWilliams's picture

Being with your original team means little to nothing.

Mario Williams - game changer

Reggie Bush - game changer (more in the passing game)

Vernon Davis - game changer

Donte Whitner - enforcer

- how many teams did Deion Sanders play for?

4thand1's picture

Reggie Bush changed a few games....................BY FUMBLING!
Mario is a game changer by stretching the cap so thin they can't put a decent QB on the field.
Vernon Davis misses a lot of games, game changer.

DrealynWilliams's picture

@4thAnd1

Come on,man. you know Reggie is an amazing talent when it comes to what he brings to a passing offense. He showed he could run when he was with the Dolphins.

What does Mario's contract have to do with this discussion? He's a damn good football player. Would you take him - don't worry about the figures?

Vernon Davis is a stud. Finley missed a lot of games and was a head case but he also was a game changer - no?

RCPackerFan's picture

Mario Williams was good. But his 100 million contract he got, didn't match his production.

Reggie Bush, while I like, was a better player with his 2nd and 3rd team then the team that drafted him. He was basically a bust for the Saints.

Vernon Davis, while has played well was almost kicked off the team a few years ago.

Donte Whitner has been a good player.

All I'm talking about is the longevity of a player on a team. The Packers got a lot more out of Hawk then the Texans, Saints, Titans, Raiders, Bills, Lions, and Cardinals did with their players. There is something to be said about a player who has played with a team for 9 years.

DrealynWilliams's picture

@RC

Was good? Mario Williams IS good. Never mind what his contract is.

Reggie wasn't a bust for NO. He was a bit of a disappointment as far as running - yes,but what he brought to the passing game and Special Teams (punt returns) was awesome.

"All I'm talking about is the longevity of a player on a team. The Packers got a lot more out of Hawk then..."

We know the Packers really value their own. They want to believe every guy they draft/develop are pretty damn good football players so they hold on to some for an extra season or few past the players' ceiling.

RCPackerFan's picture

Yes, Williams is still good. I was mostly talking about when at Houston... (so past tense).

IMO, Bush was a bust in NO, because they essentially gave up on him, and went out and got a better player in Sproles.
Now Bush went on and had really good years in Miami and Detroit, but I don't think he was the player that the Saints expected to get when they drafted him.

As far as Hawk, I just think that something can be said for him playing 9 years with the team, and only missing 2 games. Also, he did end up becoming the franchise's all time leader in tackles. I don't think that is horrible.

Idiot Fan's picture

Also, Vernon Davis said after the draft that he really didn't want to go to Green Bay, and he was a head case for several years before finally putting it all together.

HankScorpio's picture

This is a great point about the weakness of Hawk's draft year. It was a really bad time to get a top 10 pick.

Thanks, Mike Sherman!!

RCPackerFan's picture

It really wasn't a great draft.

The best player to come out of that draft IMO, was Haloti Ngata.

I can't remember exactly how it went that year, but I know Hawk was a lot higher rated of a player. I don't remember where Ngata was rated.

In the end, i think the Packers did pretty well for what was available at the time. Wasn't great, but 'ok'.

egbertsouse's picture

Next: Boykin?

HankScorpio's picture

Definitely not.

Boykin is RFA. The Packers' options are to offer him a tender, try to sign him for less or not offer him anything.

I can't see them offering a tender. I go back and forth on the other two options. I don't see the harm in bringing him back to camp to see if he is the guy from 2013 or the one from 2014. But I think 2014 guy is far more likely to show up so maybe it isn't worth it to check.

murphy's picture

I certainly hope that the report at Acme Packing Company that TT is allowing Cobb to test free agency is wrong.

HankScorpio's picture

I seriously doubt that the Packers will not offer Cobb what they think is a competitive deal before FA opens.

Whether Cobb accepts it is up to him and his agent.

Imma Fubared's picture

Best of luck to Hawk. Great guy but time to leave unfortunately. His play deteriorated of the past few years.

Imma Fubared's picture

Best of luck to Hawk. Great guy but time to leave unfortunately. His play deteriorated of the past few years.

MarkinMadison's picture

Five of the top 8 players taken in 2006 made at least one Pro Bowl (not as an alternate). The ones who didn't: Reggie Bush, AJ Hawk, and whoever that poor bastard was who got drafted by Oakland. You can say it wasn't a great draft year, but at the end of the day he wasn't the dominating ILB we saw playing in college for OSU. Chalk it up to looking better than he was against a conference that was in decline. I don't know. Maybe it was what he was asked to do in the system, I don't know. It would be interesting to hear Capers' perspective, if he ever was willing to give it.

4thand1's picture

How the hell did Vince Young make a pro bowl from that list?

MarkinMadison's picture

He made it once, in 2009, and was also named Comeback Player of the Year (by Sporting News, he finished 3rd in the official NFL ballot). The Titans started 0-6 that year with Kerry Collins. Young took over and finished the season 8-2.

He got in in 2006 after being named Offensive Rookie of the Year as an injury alternate. Hawk made it in 2010 as an injury alternate, but he never made it outright.

4thand1's picture

I remember that draft and was excited about Hawk. Seemed like a stud coming out of college and all the experts were saying what a great pick it was. That year the Packers got Jennings and Jolly later. Otherwise it was one of the shittiest drafts the Packers ever had. They had 11 picks, two in the 2nd, and two in the 3rd.

4thand1's picture

Now he can't make a practice squad.(Vince Young)

MarkinMadison's picture

Since we're comparing Hawk to the contemporaries drafted around him, it needs to be an apples-to-apples comparison. If you want to go pull all of the times that the others were in the Pro Bowl, both out-right, or as alternates, be my guest. As my comment stands though, it is a simple apples-to-apples comparison.

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