The Green Bay Packers have signed inside linebacker Desmond Bishop to a contract extension.
The deal is reportedly for $19 million over four years.
Bishop took over the starting job at inside linebacker after Nick Barnett’s season ended after week four, getting the first extensive action of his Packers’ career. He then proceeded to make Barnett an afterthought by completely outplaying him.
Bishop finished the season with 103 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception and a touchdown in 12 starts.
The extension raises an interesting question for the Packers. What are they going to do next season when Barnett and Brandon Chillar return from injury?
Chillar, who signed a contract extension last season, is likely to resume his role as a coverage specialist. Bishop doesn’t seem likely to give up his starting spot, nor should he be expected to — he’s earned it.
That leaves a limited role for either Barnett or A.J. Hawk as the other starter at inside linebacker. At least part of that decision will hinge on dollars.
Barnett is scheduled to make around $6 million in 2011. Hawk will make $10 million.
Hawk has played well, this season, but he’s not worth anywhere near $10 million a season. I’d argue Barnett isn’t worth $6 million a season, either.
If those guys want to stay with the Packers, they may have to renegotiate their deals and take on a lesser role than they’re used to.