A.J. Hawk takes $7M-plus pay cut to stay with Packers

Linebacker A.J. Hawk made 120 tackles but is a liability in pass coverage. (USATSI)

A.J. Hawk really wanted to stay in Green Bay.

The 29-year-old inside linebacker took a massive $7.25 million pay cut to stay with the team that drafted him, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The restructuring means Hawk is to be paid $10.6 million over the last three years of his five-year deal compared to the original $17.85 million. His cap impact this season was reduced from $7.05 million to $5.2 million. The paper obtained details of the new contract Monday.

While Hawk finished second on the team with a career-high 120 tackles last year, he has not forced a turnover in the last two seasons. Hawk remains solid against the run but struggles in coverage and comes out on passing downs.

Hawk will have to beat out D.J. Smith, who is five years younger, to keep his starting job.

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