GREEN BAY – Inside linebacker A.J. Hawk obliged the Green Bay Packers Friday and agreed to a pay cut, meaning the 2006 first-round draft pick will be back for a eighth season in Green Bay.
USA Today's Mike Garafolo was first to report Hawk's pay cut, and an NFL source confrimed it. Hawk had been set to count a whopping $7.03 million against the Packers’ 2013 salary cap. How much the Packers saved on the salary cap wasn’t immediately clear. Hawk has three years left on his contract.
The 29-year-old Hawk played only in the Packers’ base and nickel defensive packages last year, making him a two-down linebacker as coordinator Dom Capers went to using more dime alignments, in which Brad Jones was the lone inside linebacker.
Had the Packers released Hawk, they would have cleared $5.45 million of salary-cap room by wiping out his $4.9 million base salary, a $300,000 per-game roster bonus and a $250,000 workout bonus. Hawk signed a five-year, $33.75 million contract that included an $8 million signing bonus during a brief window in the 2011 offseason lockout.
Hawk played 847 snaps in 2012 and had a team-leading 142 tackles. He also had three sacks but did not force or recover a fumble or intercept a pass.
Hawk accepted the pay cut on the same day that two free-agent Packers inside linebackers were in the news. The Packers re-signed backup Robert Francois, a key special teams player, according to ProFootballTalk.com, while Jones, an unrestricted free agent, was visiting the Tennessee Titans. The Nashville Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt reported that Jones was staying overnight in Nashville on Friday to continue his visit into Saturday.
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