The Green Bay Packers have signed linebacker Desmond Bishop to a contract extension good for four years and $19 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
"I'm excited and blessed and glad to be staying with the (Packers)," Bishop said via Twitter. "Means more than money."
Bishop replaced Nick Barnett after the longtime starter suffered a season-ending wrist injury in Week 4 against Detroit. In his first 11 starts, Bishop tallied 112 tackles — including six games of double-digits tackles. The coaches’ tally for the Chicago game was not available as of Tuesday morning.
A sixth-round pick in 2007, Bishop’s four-year rookie contract would have expired at the end of this season and, depending on the language in a new collective bargaining agreement, might have been an unrestricted free agent.
So, Bishop’s timing was impeccable for the player nicknamed “Mr. August” because of his standout play in every training camp and preseason and his special teams-only role once the regular season kicked off.
“No, I don’t think you could have wrote it any better so far,” Bishop said in our Cover Story package in the latest Packer Report Magazine. “At the same time, we’ve still got games left and we’ve got a lot to accomplish, and that’s my main focus. I figure if I focus on that and stay consistent and keep playing hard and keep doing the things I need to do, then all of the other stuff will fall in place.”
With Bishop’s breakout performance and new deal, the Packers will enter the offseason with a logjam at inside linebacker in terms of talent and contracts with Bishop, Barnett, A.J. Hawk and Brandon Chillar. Barnett (through 2012 at cap charges of $6.9 million next season and $7.4 million in 2012) and Chillar (through 2013, with cap figures of $2.98 million in 2011, $3.68 million in 2012 and $3.98 million in 2013) have multiple years left on their contracts. Hawk, who leads the team in tackles and has played remarkably well upon being thrust into a full-time role with the injuries to Barnett and Chillar, is under contract next season for $10 million (cap number of $12.37 million).
“Desmond’s playing at a high level,” inside linebackers coach Winston Moss said in our magazine feature. “His production has been right up there with anything that Nick has done. Having those timely and impactful plays vs. Minnesota has been real key. I’m very pleased with his progress. I’m not going to compare Bishop to Barnett as far as what their production has been, but based upon getting the opportunity and the amount of plays that Bishop gets, he’s doing an outstanding job.”
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