By: Matt Bove
According to the Green Bay Press Gazette's Rob Demovsky, Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for cornerback Sam Shields, is meeting with Green Bay Packers officials today to try to get Shields signed prior to this weeks mandatory mini camp.
The Packers gave Shields the second-round tender, meaning he would play for $2.02 million if he signed that tender. Shields has not yet signed that tender because he is seeking a long term deal from Green Bay. Shields did not participate in OTA's because he is not under contract.
Shields is entering his fourth season in the NFL and he made great strides last season after a difficult 2011 season. With questions surrounding Tramon Williams' health and effectiveness Shields may be the Packers' best outside cornerback and a lengthy holdout from him would be a bad situation.
Shields was a big play maker for the Packers last season, as he posted three interceptions and was a much more willing tackler, which was a big issue for him in 2011. He has already had huge moments in the postseason for the Packers in his young career. During the 2010 playoff run, Shields made the game clinching interception in the NFC Championship game in Chicago, which put the Packers into Super Bowl XLV. In the Division playoff game in San Francisco last season, Shields intercepted Colin Kaepernick on the first series of the game and returned it for a touchdown. That play should have given the Packers huge momentum to pull of the upset, but they played terribly for the rest of the game.
The Packers do not have a ton of leverage in dealing with Shields at this point. He is only 24 years old and if he repeats the season that he had last year he would command a ton of money on the open market. The Packers are deep in the secondary and Davon House proved that he is a talented player who could step in, but the Packers and Shields know that he is not the same player in coverage as Shields is. House is more more physical, but Shields' great straight line speed more than makes up for that.
Ted Thompson and the Packers should try to lock Shields up long term right now. They would be signing Shields for his prime years and doing it now would likely cost less than it would next offseason. The Packers have some other top players to worry about signing next season including B.J Raji, Morgan Burnett, and James Jones, so locking up Shields right now should be a priority. In today's passing NFL league, Shields' speed and play making ability is extremely valuable.
Rosenhaus is known for trying to get every last penny for his clients and not settling for anything less, which could make these negotiations difficult. For the Packers' sake, they really should try to get Shields locked up long term as soon as possible.
Update: According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Shields has now signed his one-year, $2.02 million tender. Rob Demovsky tweeted that this could mean Shields and Rosenhaus could still be trying to work out a long term deal.