The winds of the free agency period proved to be rampant in Green Bay, Wis. on Friday.
In addition to the loss of Pro Bowl wide receiver Greg Jennings (who signed a five-year deal with division foe Minnesota), the Packers bid adieu to back-up tight end Tom Crabtree, who agreed to a two-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
First reported by Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com, the 6’5”, 244-pound Crabtree, who accounted for eight receptions and three touchdowns this past season, agreed to the deal with Tampa Bay three days after the Packers decided not to offer a restricted free-agent tender to the third-year player.
An undrafted free agent out of Miami (Ohio), the 27-year-old Crabtree, who has played in 46 of a possible 48 games during his three-year career, earned a Super Bowl ring during his rookie campaign of 2010 and holds career totals of 18 receptions; 302 receiving yards; four touchdowns; and a 6.6 yards per catch average.
While the green and gold saw both Crabtree and Jennings switch zip codes prior to the onset of the weekend, they were able to retain linebacker A.J. Hawk, however, when the seventh-year linebacker agreed to a restructured contract.
Drafted by the Packers with the fifth overall selection in the 2006 NFL draft following an All-American career at Ohio State, the 6’1”, 245-pound Hawk—who originally signed a five-year, $33.75 million contract prior to the 2011 season, making him the fourth highest compensated played on the roster—expressed relief in having the opportunity to continue his career for the only city he has played an NFL down for.
“Always wanted to remain a Packer and I’m excited to have the details worked out,” said Hawk, who has started in 107 of the 110 contests in which he has played, via Twitter, as reported by NFL.com. “Now back to work bringing another title home to Green Bay.”
Ranking second on the team with 120 tackles this past season, Hawk, 28, has amassed 13.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and eight interceptions, among others, during his career.