WEDNESDAY, 1:53pm: The Bengals have officially signed Hawk, the team announced today (via Twitter).
Cincinnati re-signed linebacker Rey Maualuga this week, but with Vontaze Burfict‘s recovery timetable still uncertain following microfracture surgery, the team needed some more depth at the position. The Packers were said to be leaving the door open for a possible return, but that just didn’t work out for one reason or another.
Over the last nine years, Hawk has been one of the most recognizable players on the Packers’ defense, averaging over 100 tackles per year and appearing in all but two of the team’s regular-season games. However, toward the end of his tenure with the franchise, the 31-year-old’s production no longer matched his salary. In 2014, he saw his playing time scaled back toward the end of the season and in the playoffs as he struggled with an ankle injury, and he recorded a -14.4 grade for the season, according to Pro Football Focus’ metrics (subscription required).
Hawk, a former fifth overall pick, was entering the final year of his contract, and would have counted for $5.1MM on Green Bay’s cap. By cutting him, the Packers cleared his base salary, roster bonus, and workout bonus from their books, creating $3.5MM in cap savings.