It's D-Day as in deadline day for the National Football League. The Collective Bargaining Agreement expires at 11:00 PM Wisconsin time tonight and unless a miralce takes place in New York city today, the CBA will expire and league owners are expected to lock out the players bringing the off-season to a screeching halt. In advance of the expiration, clubs have been busy extending tender offers, signing or releasing players to get their rosters and payrolls in order. The Packers are no exception.
A.J. Hawk was cut loose by the Packers on Wednesday, General Manager Ted Thompson quickly said this was a "business" decision. Hawk's final year of his rookie contract called for a 10 million dollar, guaranteed base salary for the 2011 season if he's on the roster as of March 4. Over the past couple of seasons, the team has invested heavily at the linebacker position, giving extensions to Nick Barnett, Brady Poppinga, Brandon Chillar and most recently, to Desmond Bishop. The move didn't come as a surprise to Hawk who is apparently willing to re-negotiate a new deal. Reports surfaced Wednesday night that Hawk and the Packers are close to agreement on a new, five year deal with restructured money. The signing could come as early as today. The number one pick in 2006 (5th overall) has been a steady albeit unspectacular player in his career. 4 times he's piled up over a hundred tackles and this year, played his best football taking over for injured Nick Barnett and handling the defensive calls, racking up a team leading 134 stops. Veteran tight end Donald Lee and safety Derrick Martin were also released by the Packers but they won't be coming back. Lee played in 92 games in his Packers career, starting 49, with 178 catches and 17 touchdowns but moved behind Jeremichael Finley, rookie Andrew Quarless and even free agent Tom Crabtree on the depth chart. Martin was a very willing special teams player for the Packers who missed the last half of the season with an injury. Depth at safety with Nick Collins, Atari Bigby, the emergence of Charlie Peprah and injured rookie Morgan Burnett made Martin expendable.
Brandon Underwood made the wrong call when he met up with a call girl at the Wildnerness Resort in Lake Delton last June. On Wednesday, Underwood pleaded no contest to a charge of soliciting a prostitute, he was found guilty by a Sauk County judge and was fined $379.00. Underwood was with a group of players at last summer's charity outing when police were called to a resort cabin. All of the players were questioned and all but Underwood were removed from the investigation which took weeks to sort out.