In two semi-surprising moves this week, big names A.J. Hawk and Reggie Bush were cut from their respective teams. These two players were mainly cut due to cap reasons: and both battled through injuries and had limited play in 2014.

First lets start with journeyman Reggie Bush: somewhat of a disappointment for the New Orleans Saints, he began to find his rhythm in Miami and in Detroit. Three of the last four seasons he garnered over 900 yards and in two of the campaigns he broke a 1,000: in five seasons with New Orleans, he never surpassed 600.

So it appeared the struggling college phenom was finally gaining some traction in the NFL: from 2010-13 he was gaining 4.5 YPC and got 16 TD. Unfortunately, 2014 left him sidelined with an ankle injury following week five, which lingered for the rest of the season. He only achieved 297 yards on 76 attempts in eleven games: getting only 2 TD and averaging 3.9 YPC. And during this time, Joique Bell stepped up as the starter: 860 yards, seven touchdowns on a measly three-year, $9.3 million contract.


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So it became apparent they needed the cap room to re-sign players and to address weaknesses in free agency. And to do so, Reggie Bush’s $16 million contract, which results in more than an $11 million cap charge over the next two seasons, needed to go.

His future with the team was always in question: as Lions GM Martin Mayhew stated last week, “It’s not about Reggie Bush. It’s about the process of evaluating where you are as a football team. We have a bunch of meetings after the season. The coaching staff meets. The scouting department meets together and we evaluate everybody’s performance.”

As for A.J. Hawk, this is the second time the Packers’ all-time leader in tackles (1,118) was released: he was originally cut back in 2011 due to budgetary reasons — they later re-signed to him a more cap-friendly deal. Hawk was the fifth overall pick in 2006 and played his entire nine-year career for Green Bay.

A.J. saw his on-the-field time severely decrease during the 2014 season: while he did have a lingering injury — bone spurs were removed from his ankle after the season — he claims injuries did not contribute to his reduced play. Therefore the Packers needed to make this move in order to free up about $3.5 million in cap room: if they kept him they would have took a $5.1 million hit.

However, it appears both parties left on good terms: Packers GM Ted Thompson statement stated, “A.J. is a consummate Packer and we are grateful for all that he has given and how he represented the organization over the past nine seasons… The Packers are grateful for all that he has done on the field and in the community. We wish A.J., his wife Laura, and the rest of their family all the best.”

And even Hawk said, “The Packers were awesome about it. I have no bitterness and no animosity toward anyone.”

As of right now, neither player has any plans to retire.

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