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AJ Hawk cut by Packers, viable option for Raiders?

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The hits just keep on coming today with teams cutting players, mostly in salary cap moves. Hawk was designated as a failed physical, but that doesn't mean a whole lot especially with even training camp so far away. How much interest should the Raiders have in Hawk? Let's see.

You won't find a player more durable than A.J. Hawk. He has missed just two games in his nine-year career in Green Bay and he has been their full time starter that entire time. He was a weakside linebacker his first three seasons in the NFL with seven games played at middle linebacker and the past six seasons he has played inside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme.

Hawk was drafted at linebacker while Reggie McKenzie -- a former linebacker himself -- was in Green Bay and they were together there for six seasons. McKenzie has shown a great deal of interest in signing former players of his from the Packers.

There are a lot of positions of need on the Raiders and middle linebacker is near the top of the list. Nick Roach's career is probably over, or at least it is probably done in Oakland with the concussion he received last preseason still showing symptoms. His replacement was Miles Burris who was rated as the worst inside linebacker in the NFL.

Hawk has not been great in his career and has received much criticism for it over the years. His main issues are as a run defender, which is the same issue Burris and Roach had. Even despite his faults, he would be a tremendous upgrade from Burris and in Roach's one full season as the Raiders' starting middle linebacker, he was a worse run defender than Hawk ever was.

There is the issue of age. Hawk just turned 31 years old so he may not have much left in the tank. Even still, signing a potential starting middle linebacker prior to the draft is a strategy Reggie McKenzie utilized last season with several players. It not only frees him up to not be forced to pick anyone at a particular position, but that in turn keeps other teams guessing as to which player he will choose.

A great example was trading for Matt Schaub and then drafting Derek Carr. Lucky for the Raiders, Carr was still on the board in the second round. One could argue trading for Schaub was a mistake regardless of the outcome of the draft, but whaddyagonnado.

As far as potential signing at the middle linebacker position, the Raiders could do worse than A.J. Hawk. Though potentially they could do better as well. But not signing anyone would be far worse.