The Green Bay Packers are releasing starting inside linebacker AJ Hawk, their second starting linebacker to be released in the last week.
Hawk was in the final year of his contract with the Packers and would have earned $3.5 million on the season had he been on the roster for a full 16 games. He had a $500,0oo roster bonus due this offseason that likely helped push his release along. The team will carry $1.6 million in dead money but will create $3.5 million in cap room.
Hawk had a nice career with the Packers dating back to 2006, though I don’t believe he ever lived up to the draft status. By all accounts he was a great teammate and personality for the team, but his play in recent years had declined. In 2013 he took a pay cut to remain in Green Bay and with just one year remaining on his deal the time as likely right to make the move.
The release should push the Packers estimated cap space to jut under $32 million in 2015, which will be in the top 10 in the NFL. Green Bay is rarely active in signing unrestricted free agents but do have a few free agents of their own to consider including wide receiver Randall Cobb. tackle Bryan Bulaga, and corner Tramon Williams. Casey Hayward is also likely to receive an extension.
Green Bay looks as if they will be in the market for linebackers this year following the release of Hawk and Brad Jones. If the Packers decide to move on from Julius Peppers they will be revamping 3/4 of their group this offseason, most of which will come via the draft.