Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2014 Packer Free Agents: Sam Shields Wants A Reasonable Contract

I've been going through the list of key free agents for the Green Bay Packers in reverse order, starting with the 19 players who aren't really free agents and/or aren't going to command a multiple year contract, and moving onto the 5 guys who aren't really important to re-sign. I had a few more players to write about before I wrote about CB Sam Shields, who I viewed as their most important player to re-sign, but some recent news made me decide to write about him now.
Those numbers rang a bell. Four-years, $22.4 million are exactly the same contract terms that CB Tim Jennings agreed to with the Bears back in January. Those two aren't exactly the same type of player (Jennings has played a lot of cover-2 and Shields is younger) but they're comparable players; starting caliber cornerbacks who aren't shutdown corners. They were within 0.1 of having the same overall 2013 grade according to Pro Football Focus. Maybe it's too much of a coincidence; someone is just assuming Shields should receive the same contract as Jennings. On the other hand, his agent (Drew Rosenhaus) isn't a dummy and probably knows his client's market value.

As a brief aside, there is a good argument to be made that their most important free agent this offseason is C Evan Dietrich-Smith. He had a very good 2013 season, better than I expected, and he played more snaps last season than any other free agent. He was very important to their team. However, he's a center, and he's playing alongside two veteran guards (who were both great in 2013 too). They might not want to re-sign another interior lineman to a big multi-year contract, and I think that if the Packers plugged someone like J.C. Tretter in at center alongside Lang and Sitton, we wouldn't notice the difference.

I really wanted them to re-sign Shields, but it would be an overpay to use the franchise tag on him, so I was concerned that they wouldn't be able to keep him from testing the market. Hopefully they can sign him to a new contract based on the terms that were reported yesterday.

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