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Packers Sign Bishop To Contract Extension

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Packers Sign Bishop To Contract Extension

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter on Twitter:

Green Bay signed linebacker Desmond Bishop to a four-year $19 million contract extension.

This would seem to indicate Bishop has a future as a starter in Green Bay. As for what the Packers will do with the rest of their inside linebackers remains to be seen.

A.J. Hawk is scheduled to make a salary in the neighborhood of $10 million next season, which I can't imagine the Packers honoring. Hawk may agree to re-structure his contract, or the Packers may cut him allowing Hawk to shop his services elsewhere.

Given Bishop's contract extension, Hawk may feel he's the odd man out and want a guaranteed starting spot somewhere else.

However, with Nick Barnett coming off another season ended on injured reserve, there's no guarantee he's going to return to form either. Right now it's hard to say which direction the Packers may go at inside linebacker.

Cheesehead TV's Brian McIntyre says teams had until 4 p.m. last Saturday to apply any money toward an uncapped season. So the question now becomes, did the Packers actually sign Bishop before then in order to save money on future salary caps?

We'll update the situation as more information becomes available.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (32) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

lmills's picture

Love it!!! I'm guessing Bishop and Barnett are our starting inside backers next year. I like Hawk, but I don't think he'll be taking a pay cut or settle for being a backup. Hopefully they start printing some of his jersey's now so I can buy it!

Derek Zoellner's picture

with the way Bishop and Hawk have been playing together, i would vote Barnett the odd man out, assuming Hawk agrees to restructure. our defense has been great lately, and our ILB play has been a big reason why.

CSS's picture

Hawk does need to restructure, but that means restructuring the final year along with an extension. His side will not simply accept a reduction. The starting point for a Hawk extension will be Bishop's current contract. Hawk is playing at a higher level than Bishop.

ZeroTolerance's picture

Agree with both of you. Barnett is getting old and two knee injuries in two years - may be hard to overcome.

jay's picture

Zero, Barnett's latest injury was a wrist injury, similar to Urlacher's last year, right?

I wonder what kind of trade value Barnett could fetch.

ZaphodBeeblebrox's picture

Yes but remember that Barnett had a second knee surgery (presumably cleanup) at the end of last season...

Packnic's picture

Hawk is making a ton, but signing Des to such a ridiculously reasonable contract makes it possible to keep everyone. 4-5 million a year is a good backup linebacker salary. who cares who is getting what... just consider it 15 million for two completely reliable inside linebackers.

I dont think money would be an issue here. Depth is obviously a need, no reason to usher it out.

jack in jersey city's picture

i think we've seen the last of barnett in a packers uniform. i think they will keep hawk and restructure his contract. hawk really wants to stay in green bay

Oppy's picture

Looking at payrolls for 2009, only 24 LB's in the NFL made 4 million or more last season.

Ten LB's made between low 4 - high 5 million a year.

To give you an idea, there's roughly 230 LB's who received a salary in 2009. I'm sure that includes training camp bodies and practice squad, but even if you figure a modest average of 5 LBs per nfl team (approximating both 3-4 and 4-3 teams), that's 160 Lbs in the league- 3 starters per team is 96 starting LBs (More if you figure in 3-4 teams, of course).

It's fair to say 4-5 million a year isn't "Backup" money, it's a pretty good chunk of change. None the less, it looks like it is "Valuable Veteran role player money" in Green Bay.

Packnic's picture

backup was probably a terrible word as all 4 inside linebackers would serve a purpose in different formations. Non-starting would be a better way to describe i guess.

Add in Chillar to what Nick Barnett calls the 4 headed monster... and you've got some serious change tied up into the inside linebacker position.

Hawk will probably have to redo his contract... and if he does that in order to stay around here... then we got ourselve a hell of a unit.

TT was a linebacker... knows the importance. I would figure on them keeping everyone unless the draft is very kind to us.

Bad Knees's picture

The way Thompson has been finding players he could probably find an all-pro off a high school team. We are in good hands.

Piet's picture

Great job by TT and Russ Ball. 4 years at 19 million is a great deal for the Packers. I'm very happy with how the organization uses the pay-as-you-go style and rewards players that have been developed in house.

lmills's picture

I'd be ok with that too. The only reason I like Barnett better is because of his speed. he's a little better than Hawk sideline to sideline. But I'd take Hawk too if he agrees to restructure.

zub's picture

As long as Chillar has a roster spot, Hawk will take his talents elsewhere no matter what the Packers offer him.

Hawks primary need is to be on a team that will allow him to play all downs, there are enough teams in the NFL that will match whatever the Packers offer Hawk plus the ability to play every down.

Chillar stays Hawk goes and the Packers have no say in the matter unless they cough up 10 million.

Barnett is under contract, so Packers hold the cards.

IMO if I where the GM, I wouldn't fix something thats not broken, Hawk/Bishop combo is working nicely. Would trade/ release Chillar and Barnett, main reason to trade Chillar is so I could get Hawk to sign. Not sure Barnett would accept a backup position without being a distraction in the locker room.

al's picture

i would keep chillar as a backup, just cause we have chillar doesnt mean we have to use him on passing downs as we did before. Hawk as been perfectly fine on passing downs and his and Bishop have Chemistry. Chillars role should be reduced to strictly injury backup or fatique relief. Yes he is being over paid for that role but some backup will get overpaid either way. Were not paying shit for the other outside linebacker spot so it kind of makes up for it.

Packersrule's picture

The rate that GB put LBs on IR, I would think they need to sign 5 more ;-).

DaveK's picture

Hawk has had a great year and has proved he can be an every down backer especially for a 4-3 team. He isn't going to take a pay cut as he will get a decent contract with a nice signing bonus if he is released and becomes a FA.

The Packers will need to decide if they want to pay him $10 million or not. Everyone assumes that they will not but I am not so sure. Having three solid inside LB's was huge this year for the defense and if the league goes to 18 games (and bigger rosters) they will most likely need all three.

It depends on the draft and if any teams are willing to trade for Hawk and give him a new contract but if I had to bet I would bet that Hawk plays for the Packers next year and gets his $10 million.

hyperRevue's picture

Great move. Only downside is that I guess it means Cullen Jenkins will be walking.

As for Hawk, he'll be taking a pay cut no matter what - no team is going to pay him $10 million a year. He's quietly had a really nice year and I'd love the Pack to keep him.

I wonder what will come of James Jones. I know he's probably the most infuriating player on the team not named Bush, but I just think he's too young and too talented to let walk.

Oppy's picture

The Packers never intended to pay AJ Hawk 10 million next year, and AJ Hawk and his agent were well aware of that when they inked the deal.

That 10 Million dollar escalator next year is a contractual tool designed to force Hawk's representation and the Packers Russ Ball to sit down at the negotiating table this offseason and do one of two things:

Re-structure Hawk's contract into a new, multi-year deal, OR

Release AJ Hawk so he can find employment elsewhere.

It's really that simple. It doesn't mean Hawk won't play unless he gets 10 mil. It means he and his agent will be looking for the stability of a new long term deal- either with the Packers or with someone else.

Satori's picture

Hawk will get his money, just carved up into different contract pieces. It allows him to save face and for GB to have a reasonable contract going forward

Since he is so consistent and reliable, roster bonuses and work out bonuses will make up the delta between the old salary and the new one

Keep as many good players as you can possibly keep.

Oppy's picture

"This would seem to indicate Bishop has a future as a starter in Green Bay."

Not so fast, Mr. Nagler.. I have two words for you:

Brandon. Chillar.

4 year, 21 million dollar contract.

When MM and TT say they don't see the field as only having 11 "starters" on it, they aren't just paying lip service.

TT has shown that the Packers trully believe this 'more than 11 starters' philosophy. TT is willing to pay top dollar for those who he feels are important to the success of the team- even if they are "Just role players".

Don't get me wrong, Bishop very well could end up with a permanent 'starting' role, but he's getting paid less than another LB who isn't a starter and is used more situationally- whether it was as a Frisco-package backer or in Big Okie as a safety...

Brian Carriveau's picture

Mr. Nagler didn't write the article, I did. And yes, I get your point, but I also think that Bishop will play more downs than Chillar going forward.

Oppy's picture

I need to start paying more attention to the by-line, obviously. ;)

I do agree, Bishop will be playing more than Chillar- I just don't think his extension/raise necessarily indicates the replacement of Hawk or Bush. It is a definite possibility, but with the way TT operates, there's no telling.

If there's one thing for certain, it's that TT works outside the box in comparison to many other GMs.

Oppy's picture

Irk, "...I just don’t think his extension/raise necessarily indicates the replacement of Hawk or Bush."

I meant, "Hawk or Barnett", obviously. lol.

P.s.: Holy Edit Button, batman!

POOCH's picture

Chillar is not even close to the production that Bishop brings

Oppy's picture

Wasn't making any claims that Chillar is better than Bishop. Just the fact that Chillar was given a "Starter" type contract last off season, a bigger one than Bishop just received, and Chillar wasn't being used as a starter. Just as an important role player.

Nothing more, nothing less.

jeremy's picture

The more I think it out I'm expecting the Packers release Barnett if they can extend Hawk in the range of 7-8mil per. You can laugh if you want to but that's his Market value, and his agent knows he can get it at any time from another team. He's a Pro-bowl alternate who can play in the 3-4 or the 4-3, and has never missed a game. He racks up a lot of tackles while doing a ton of shit work on defense, and he makes most of the calls in the backfield. Barnett is getting old, has lost a step, and has missed a bunch of games. TT is the Master of doing the obvious. He'll use Barnett's money on Jenkins.

The guy who should be afraid is Poppinga He's obviously miscast in Capers 3-4, and Jones, Zombo, Walden, and the likely first day draft pick should all be ahead of him on the depth chart at a much cheaper price.

WoodyG's picture

Talent evaluation ?? .... It took 4 years & another Barnett injury to finally see what Bishop really has to offer ...... It took another injury to Chillar to keep AJ on the field all 3 downs, only to find out that AJ is pretty good on all 3 downs .....

Still waiting for Chillar to earn his pay ...... Haven't seen it ...... A 5th round ILB in the 2011 draft will bump Chillar.

FITZCORE1252's picture

Great news. Uncle Ted making things happen. I feel better knowing this is done.


LACheez's picture

How about the Packers somehow find a way to make Chillar look really good and then trade him away for either a kick-returner or an OLB? Like digitally darken Clay Matthews hair, make him look smaller, change the 52 to 54, and then send the tape around to shop Chillar?! Has there been a game when Chillar has looked good? Seriously...

Point Packer's picture

Another great TT move. This will be the last time I type an utterance in this spirit, but to all those quote "Packer fans" who villiafed TT for the the Princess Favre debacle should be eating a big pile of fresh roadkill crow for all the great moves this guys has made the last few years - this being but another example.

Bishop is a stellar backer locked in at a great price. Good work Pack.

jdondlinger's picture

I'm with with either Hawk or Barnett. I trust Thompson will make the right call. Just very glad they gave Bishop the extension so I know that he will be 1 of the 2 ILB's in the 3-4.

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