GREEN BAY – Six days after telling Desmond Bishop that they intended to release him, the Green Bay Packers did just that to the veteran inside linebacker Monday.
Bishop, who missed all of last season with a ruptured hamstring tendon suffered in the Aug. 9 preseason opener at San Diego, did not participate in any of the team’s organized team activity practices or the mandatory minicamp.
Bishop said in a phone interview that the team never discussed the idea of him taking a pay cut, saying only that they would check back with him down the road if he were released and didn't find work elsewhere. That seems unlikely, since Bishop said he will visit the Minnesota Vikings on Tuesday.
With Bishop’s injury and the team’s decision to re-sign Brad Jones, who took over after Bishop and primary backup D.J. Smith were lost for the season, to a three-year, $11.75 million contract in March, the Packers’ decision to release Bishop wasn’t a huge surprise. But because he is a vested veteran -- he entered the league as a sixth-round pick from California in 2007 -- he is not subject to the waiver wire and is free to sign with any team. He figures to draw significant interest on the open market.
Bishop signed a four-year, $19 million extension in January 2011. According to the NFL Players Association database, his 2013 base salary was scheduled to be $3.464 million.
Bishop was arguably the team’s best defensive player in 2011, registering 115 tackles and five sacks along with forcing two more fumbles in 13 games. He’ll only turn 29 in July, but given the money the team paid Jones and the fact that A.J. Hawk got more than $2 million guaranteed for 2013 in exchange for taking a pay cut, it was no surprise that those two were the starters in the team’s base “Okie” defense during all open offseason practices.
Bishop said on May 28 that his hamstring tendon is “100 percent” healed and that he was “really close” to returning.
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