As cerebral as they come on the football field, linebacker A.J. Hawk of the Green Bay Packers proved equally astute last week at the bargaining table.

Facing possible release if his answer to an enormous pay cut was no, Hawk agreed to what he presumably regarded as a palatable alternative considering the glut of veteran inside linebackers looking for work.

On Saturday, Hawk signed a restructuring of the final three years on his five-year, $33.75 million contract that will cost him $7.25 million.

However, instead of being on the street, Hawk still will collect $10.6 million from 2013-'15 if the 29-year-old remains as durable as he has been.

It's not the $17.85 million that his old contract called for, but it's better than the $840,000 minimum former teammate Nick Barnett could be looking at if he finds an interested team. Besides, Hawk already has been paid $15.9 million in the first two years of the deal.

Hawk's previous average per year of $6.75 million ranked 12th among NFL middle/inside linebackers and fourth on the Packers. His new average of $3.533 ranks 21st at his position and 11th on his team.

Hawk's cap salaries were reduced from $7.05 million to $5.2 million this year, from $7.55 million to $5.1 million in 2014 and from $8.05 million to that same $5.1 million in 2015. The Packers now are about $19.8 million beneath the cap.

This year, Hawk's base salary was whacked from $4.9 million to $840,000. However, Hawk negotiated a new roster bonus of $2.21 million that is to be paid Wednesday.

His base salary was cut from $4.9 million to $2.45 million in 2014, and from $5.4 million to the same $2.45 million in 2015.

Hawk's roster bonuses of $300,000 ($18,750 for each game active) and workout bonuses of $250,000 each year were undisturbed.