In a normal year, the Packers and linebacker A.J. Hawk would have to come up with a new contract in the next few weeks or the team would have to cut him.
This is not a normal year, of course.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes that Hawk’s unmanageable $10 million base salary is guaranteed on the first day of the new league year. That’s supposed to be March 4, but will likely be delayed.
It will be telling to see if the Packers try to address the issue before a potential work stoppage. If they don’t, it’s a sign that teams are confident there will be some sort of buffer period after the next CBA is signed, whenever it is signed. (The Saints similarly aren’t expected to re-negotiate Reggie Bush’s deal pre-CBA.)
Think about it: If a new CBA is signed, the league year could theoretically start the next day. The Packers would have to cut Hawk or strike an immediate deal to avoid making his salary guaranteed.
If the Packers don’t lay some groundwork with Hawk before March 4, it’s a sign teams fully believe they will get at least a few days after a new CBA is signed before the next official league year starts.