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Do The Packers Have To Make A Decision On A.J. Hawk?

February 16, 2011

When A.J. Hawk was drafted with the fifth-overall pick in the 2006 draft, he was expected to be the Packers’ middle linebacker of the future. Hawk did not immediately live up to the hype surrounding a top-5 pick, but throughout each of his five seasons he has steadily improved. His development has culminated in leading his defense to a Super Bowl title.

Back in 2006, Hawk inked a rookie contract that bumped his base salary to $10 million dollars in his fifth-year. The former Ohio State Buckeye has now reached that year of his contract and the popular assumption is that the Packers will either restructure that deal or release him in order to avoid paying that hefty sum.

As pundits and reporters play armchair general manager, they predict that the Packers have a decision to make with Hawk this offseason. I’m not so sure I agree.

With 15 pending free agents, it’s quite possible that the Packers will simply pay A.J. Hawk his salary and deal with his contract when it expires after next season.

General manager Ted Thompson has a history of rewarding players he has drafted, and Hawk’s solid play this season may have earned him a bonus in 2011.

The Packers have a lot of decisions to make this offseason. I don’t think A.J. Hawk is one of them.

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