Interpreting the “Writing on the Wall”: Sam Shields

Well today is the deadline for NFL teams to lock up players with the franchise tag and the Packers have not Sam Shieldsas yet used the tag. Ted Thompson has said that he wants to sign our players as a priority, so with that said there may be some in Packernation who are wondering why Green Bay does not tag cornerback Sam Shields. In fact, we here at GPN do NOT expect an 11th hour contract signing either which means that Sam Shields will hit the free agent market. On the face of it, this course of action seems to say that the Packers do not want Shields back, but let’s break it down:

1. The franchise tag requires a team to pay a player an average of the top five salaries at the position. So if the Packers were to franchise Sam Shields, they would basically be saying, “Sam, we think you are one of a handful of the BEST players at your position in the league.” Now, while I am willing to admit that Sam Shields is one of the bright spots in Green Bay’s backfield, I do not agree that he is one of the five best cornerbacks in the league. In this sense, I agree with the Packers brass in NOT tagging Shields.The current cost to tag a cornerback is $10,854,000 (I have also seen this number reported as 11.8 M). If the Packers are around $30 M under the cap, that means that tagging Sam Shields would eat up more than a third of that barring other free agents that exit this off-season (James Jones, for example). While I would love to see Sam Shields back with Green Bay next season, he is not good enough to warrant that kind of affect on the team’s overall situation.

2. Jarius Byrd reportedly turned down a 3 year, $30 million deal to stay with the Bills. How many out there wouldn’t like to see Green Bay pay $12 M a year and lock up Byrd for three years? I’m not saying that is going to happen, but by not using the money on Shields, that is the kind of leverage Green Bay keeps.

3. What are the chances that other teams are going to value Sam Shields at double digit millions? I think Green Bay is sitting pat, allowing Shields to hit the market and expecting to still have a chance that Shields sees things with a little more perspective.

So the writing on the wall is not really what it seems with the Sam Shields situation. I think the Packers brass are being patient and not overpaying a guy that was a good player in a bad backfield. By not franchising Shields, I read between the lines that the Packers may have their sites set on an even better candidate to play opposite Tramon Williams. There has been a lot of talk about how Ted Thompson doesn’t do anything in free agency and to a great extent I agree and would like to see him do more. I do see in this action with Shields the possibility that TT may be hoarding some cash for more than just to lock up Jordy Nelson. Thompson did bring Charles Woodson to the Pack and it seems that while they remain cool as always, there is some sense of urgency to improve the defense immediately.


Go Pack!


Interpreting the “Writing on the Wall”: Sam Shields — 5 Comments

  1. I had not thought about Shields in this way, but you are right, he was the best of a bad lot. I think $11M is too much for him. I like the guy, but that kind of money seems too high for what he has done. I just do not want to end the draft and free agency with $15M to $20M of unspent cap money. We really need to make a run while Aaron is still in his prime. I know this, unspent cap money made zero tackles, had zero interceptions and no forced fumbles.

    • I’m totally with you, Steve. I want Shields back too and it is still a possibility. But if we don’t spend any of the cap money toward improving the defense and let Shields go…that would be a big mistake. The rumors are that TT will do something this offseason but I think we are all in a “wait and see” pattern. I must say, something about this offseason has me feeling like we may make one solid pickup in free agency like we did with Woodson or Picket. I would love to see us let Shields test the market, sign a pro bowl free agent defensive player, and then get Sam back at $6 M a year or something. But I really have a feeling that our defense is better than it looked on paper. The injuries are not an excuse but they are a factor. Datone Jones is gonna show up next season and we will make some additions. Thanks for commenting! Come back soon!

  2. i think Ted has no clue on how free agency works other than for overpaying guys he drafted. cm3 didnt need that big of contract to stay and frankly didnt earn that kind of money.Rodgers yes. the way i see it is they should do as the rest of the teams do front and end load fair contracts for shields,jordy and cobb while they have the money. all should be in the 5 year 35m range. give them something like 7/8/5/5/10m per year/if one or all lose a step cut them before the big money last year i think the 3 listed would be more than happy if they redid their contracts for that.especially cobb whos should be considerably lower and nelson who would both be getting a very healty short term raise. im thinking cobb should be in the 5/7/7/5/10m per year.that would be 18 m to lock up those 3 and would still have cash to go after 1 premium free agent such as byrd,orackpo,or 2 a notch lower such as clement from miami,ryan clarke,red have some cash ted buy us some pieces!

    • First off, Ted never really had to use free agency. They have depth in every position which is much more than any other team could say. Even when he did, it was smart. Charles Woodson, Ryan Picket, John Kuhn, Matt Flynn (the second time around) and of course all of the undrafted free agents that everyone forgets about. Secondly, locking up players is more important than bringing in new ones who don’t know the system. And lastly, Cobb is worth more than Nelson. He’s younger, and a big playmaker. Plus, he is more versatile. Sure Nelson can get open, but he isn’t a deep threat or a speed guy which tends to often decide salary.

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