Bengals: Is Releasing A.J. Hawk the Right Move?

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Nov 5, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker A.J. Hawk (50) against the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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The News of A.J. Hawk being released from the Bengals comes just days before the 2016 NFL Draft, but is it the right move for the Bengals?

The Cincinnati Bengals acquired Karlos Dansby this off-season and many speculated the end of A.J. Hawk. On Tuesday, the Bengals made it official.

The question now becomes, was it the right move for the Bengals?

A.J. Hawk didn’t have a spectacular season, but it was still solid for what the Bengals had asked him to do. His 24 tackles and one sack in 16 games might not seem like a lot, but he plugged running holes, pressured quarterbacks to make quicker decisions, and stayed healthy.

Hawk spent only one season in the Bengals organization, after nine seasons in Green Bay. His time here was seen by most as a homecoming for the 32 year old from Kettering, Oh, but he will now have a tough decision to make. He could continue to get one to two year deals to play, or he could call it a career with impressive career numbers. He has 945 tackles, 20 sacks, nine interceptions, and three forced fumbles.

Although the Bengals signed Karlos Dansby as a free agent, the expected increase in production from P.J. Dawson, and a possible draft pick might have spelled the end of A.J. Hawk when the 2016 off-season began. Hawk’s age and expected decreasing role caused the Bengals to rethink his future with the team, not to mention his $1.4 million cap hit, which includes $100,000 in workout bonus and $200,000 in roster bonus, that the Bengals save on.

Did the Bengals make the right decision? The answer will most likely come in the form of performance by Dansby, Dawson, and any other player brought in from free agency or the draft. However, if he was expected to sit for most of the season, saving the $1.4 million was probably the right thing for a team that could use that to resign a few 2017 free agents before the season.

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