Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Shields and Neal Re-Sign

Free agency is once again upon us, and while many people I'm sure are complaining about the lack of action taken by the Green Bay Packers, I for one, am fairly used to it by now.  The Packers rarely if ever, make a splash in the first few days of free agency, and while we were listed as one of the top ten teams with cap space, no Packers fan who has followed Ted for many years were expecting too much at the start of free agency.  But we have resigned a few of our own players, and there are a few more I would like to see return. So let's focus first on the the resigned players, then we will get to some more to pursue.

1.  Sam Shields, CB (5'11", 184 lbs)

He started 14 games, had 61 tackles, 16 pass deflections, and 4 INT, all career highs for him last season.  He agreed to a 4 year $39M deal with $12.5M as the signing bonus.  Even with his low cap number for the first season, he is the 5th highest Packer against the cap for the coming season (behind Rodgers, Matthews, Tramon Williams, and Sitton).  Obviously the Packers have viewed this position as quality before, paying Williams his big money contract, and Williams is finally hitting the 5th and final year of the contract.  So I feel that not only did we get Shields for the right amount of time, but compared to the CB market, he is coming to us for a much better price.  Here's what some of the other top CB's have signed for since Tuesday.

  • Aqib Talib: 6 year, $57M, $26M guaranteed (Broncos)
  • Vontae Davis: 4 year, $39M, $20M guaranteed (Colts)
  • Alterraun Verner: 4 year, $25.5M, $14M guaranteed (Bucs)
  • Darelle Revis: 1 year, $12M (Patriots)
Only Verner is making less per year, but as many people in NFL circles are aware, the thing that can kill you with these contracts is the guaranteed money.  Granted, I would say that Talib and Revis are both upgrades over Shields, I think that Shields holds his own with the other two that are on the list.  Not only did the Packers sign someone just days shy of free agency, but they gave him comparatively less than most of the free agents, and Davis also returned to his team.  We have a player that already knows our system, plays well in our system, and had one of his best years, and is just now entering the prime of his career.  Interesting note about Shields, like Richard Sherman, he played WR at college before switching to DB.  He only had 1 year of DB experience at Miami when we signed him as an UDFA and started as our nickelback his rookie year.

2.  Michael Neal, OLB (6'3" 285 lbs)

The details of this deal are yet to be released at the time of this writing.  But Neal himself tweeted that it is a 2 year deal.  I think that it will be a good deal for we need more OLB to rush the passer, and Neal improved over the course of the season.  I'm assuming that it is probably similar to other Packer deals where it is for a developing player at a new position, and Neal took a major risk switching from DE to OLB last season and has been rewarded.  He started 10 games, 47 tackles, 5 sacks, 37 QB hurries, 1 INT, are all career highs.  I think that he still made mistakes at times, but is improving and I look forward to continued improvement this coming season.

One player that the Packers lost in free agency so far is MD Jennings.  He would be a player that didn't live up to his billing as he gained more playing time, and I'm not too sad to see him go to the Bears, because I think that Rodgers can torch him there too.  Sadly, he will always be remembered from the "Fail Mary" and that's a play that I want to forget about as soon as possible.

One player the Packers are reportedly bringing in for a visit is Owen Daniels (6'3" 249 lbs) from the Texans.  He was hurt last year, but he had been consistently productive in his career, and if he did well with Schaub I have to imagine he would be great with Rodgers throwing him the ball.  Plus, he went to the University of Wisconsin, which will make the Badger faithful proud.  He definitely would be a receiving TE and a red zone threat.  Sign him already please.

The main Packer I want to resign is EDS.  He did an excellent job at Center and I don't want to focus on another one in this draft.  I don't think JC Tretter has had enough time to develop at this position and I want some consistency between the OL between seasons.  Bulaga, Sitton, EDS, Lang, and Bhaktiari is a strong OL and why would we want to mess with a good thing.

Well those are my thoughts for the evening, and I'll be looking to post more as FA continues.  

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