Even after signing Brandon Chillar to a four-year, $21 million contract extension in December, the Green Bay Packers appear prepared to pay former first-round draft pick A.J. Hawk $4.6 million for the 2010 season to possibly share playing time with Chillar at inside linebacker.
Hawk was a starter last season in the Packers’ new 3-4 defense, but when Chillar was healthy, he usually replaced Hawk on passing downs.
Hawk’s 2010 salary is $4.1 million after he reached playing-time escalators earlier in his career, and he’s also due a $500,000 workout bonus. Considering Chillar’s contract extension and the possibility that Desmond Bishop offers an alternative to share time at that position, the Packers had to think about whether Hawk was worth $4.6 million this year.
However, if the Packers approach Hawk about a pay cut, he almost certainly would refuse and take his chances on the open market. Hawk’s agent, Mike McCartney, on Monday said he’s spoken with Packers officials this offseason and the team has decided it’s better off paying the premium for quality depth.
“They’re not going to ask (for a pay cut),” McCartney said. “They think A.J. is a very important part of their football team. I have full confidence that A.J. is going to have a big year next year, and I think they have the same kind of confidence.”