Thursday, June 13, 2013

Packers May Soon Release Desmond Bishop

I've been expecting the Green Bay Packers to release LB Desmond Bishop ever since they re-signed LB Brad Jones because his new contract pays him like a starter ($11.75 million over three years). While LB A.J. Hawk took a multi-million dollar pay cut, he's still paid like a starter ($10.6 million over three years) and the decision to re-negotiate instead of releasing looks like a clear sign that they still believe in him. 

Since the Packers only need two starting inside linebacker, paying Bishop like a starter doesn't make much sense. Especially for the Packers, who aren't known for ever keeping high priced veterans in reserve roles. Now the rumors have heated up again:
I can't see any team offering anything in trade for a veteran coming off a lost season (hamstring injury) who's scheduled to make over $3 million. A contract restructuring seems unlikely too. Bishop wants a chance to start, his goal is to be defensive player of the year, and he can't do that from the bench. As mentioned earlier, the Packers aren't known for keeping veterans as bench and/or special teams players. Plus, they still have depth at inside linebacker, even if Bishop is gone.

Another problem is that the last time Bishop was healthy, he was bad against the run, which is exactly what you don't want from an inside linebacker. While he did record five sacks in 2011, usually after a delayed inside blitz, Jones had two sacks last season and Hawk increased his sack total from one and one-half in 2011 to three in 2012. They seem capable of making up what Bishop added as a pass rusher.

My only question is why now? Everything I wrote above about Bishop has been true for a while. This is the final week of OTAs (organized team activities) and he sat out at least one open practice due to his hamstring. That was precautionary and probably not a big deal, but the Packers apparently didn't see enough progress from him in some regard. Parting ways with him seemed inevitable to me for a while, but maybe the Packers have only recently come to the same conclusion.

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