We're Black and Blue All Over:
It appears the Green Bay Packers and linebacker A.J. Hawk won't be apart long.
Released on Wednesday because of a bloated 2011 salary, Hawk reportedly will re-sign with the team before the expiration of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement (CBA) Thursday night. According to Lance Allan of WTMJ-Ch. 4, Hawk will sign a new five-year contract. Hawk's agent told Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette that the sides are putting the "finishing touches" on the new deal.
Even if the matter isn't completed Thursday, the Packers won't necessarily lose Hawk. He would be eligible for unrestricted free agency, but the market won't open until after a new CBA is reached. He could always sign the structure of what has been negotiated at that time.
Hawk was scheduled to earn a base salary of $10 million or the value of the franchise tag for linebackers in 2011, whichever was higher. In essence, that salary was written to force the Packers to make a decision on his future this offseason. It appears that decision has been made and is nearly executed.
Continuing around the NFC North on what could our last normal day offseason day for quite some time:
Hawk had surgery on his right wrist less than a month ago and won't be ready for football activities until this summer, notes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Free-agent nose tackle Pat Williams told Tim Yotter of VikingUpdate.com that he won't return to the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.
The Vikings are continuing business as best as they can this week, according to the Star Tribune.
Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reviews the tenders the Vikings gave to restricted free agents, although those offers are likely to be rendered moot in most cases by a new CBA.
Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com speaks to Chicago Bears tight end Desmond Clark and running back Garrett Wolfe about the impact of the looming lockout on their careers.
Bears personnel director Tim Ruskell has some new ideas, according to Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
Among many nuggets in Neil Hayes' Chicago Sun-Times story with offensive coordinator Mike Martz: Bears receiver Johnny Knox "embarrassed" the New York Jets' cornerbacks last season, Martz said.
The Detroit Lions would be hurt financially more than most NFL teams by a lockout, writes Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News.
Lions cornerback Chris Houston, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press: "It's business, and with things going right now, every team is kind of trying to take the cheaper road out, which we expected. But at the same time, I feel like if they wanted me as much as they say they did then things would have got done a little bit earlier or right after the season or before this even occurred. But at the same time, it's business from their perspective, and it's going to be business on this end."
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com outlines a way that Nebraska cornerback Prince Amukamara could fall to the Lions at No. 13 overall.