Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin is in tune with the Green Bay Packers, as much or more so than anyone else covering the team. Therefore, when he reports something, it's worth listening to. That's why we're more than willing to pass along this report about one of the Packers' projected starters, who is returning from missing all of last season:
On the surface, this seems like it's nothing new to report. We brought you the news during the NFL Draft that the Packers were apparently looking to trade Bishop, but many (myself included) had dismissed that report after the fact as an over-exaggeration of the situation. I certainly dismissed it as if it were any other draft-day trade rumor, that other teams happened to be asking around about Bishop and that Ted Thompson was open to the idea of trading him for the right price. That past report now sounds more accurate in light of this one, however.
From what Wilde describes, it sounds like Bishop's $4.76 million cap hit is the big reason for this reported decision. With fellow inside linebacker Brad Jones earning a long-term deal this offseason ($2.5 million cap hit in 2013) and A.J. Hawk having three years left on his deal (at a cap hit of $5.2 million this year), that's an awful lot of money to pay three players when only two can start and often one comes off the field on passing downs.
This scenario of course doesn't take into account the expected development of second-year linebacker Terrell Manning or the recent drafting of seventh-round pick Sam Barrington, both of whom could feasibly earn some playing time on defense this year. The Packers certainly seem to expect big things from Manning, and with a full healthy offseason he should be better prepared to participate in other areas than just special teams.
It seems unlikely that a restructure could take place on Bishop's contract, however. He has a nearly identical cap hit of $4.84 million in 2014 to end his deal, and in order to spread that hit out he would need to receive a few additional years on his contract. Luckily for the Packers, they built up most of Bishop's contract in his base salary, and would only take on 1.8 million in dead money if they were to release him ($1.6 million due to his signing bonus and $200,000 from this year's workout bonus).
All in all, don't expect the big thumper to be back in Green and Gold when training camp starts in late July.