The Green Bay Packers have made a calculated decision with free-agent cornerback to be Sam Shields and after it was reported over the weekend that Shields is going to test the free agent market, it may be the one that the team ultimately regrets.
According to numerous reports, the two sides have been in ongoing contract talks to try and hammer out a deal before the start of free agency on March 8th but at this point, it looks like all negotiations are over until after free agency begins.
Of course the Packers could still ensure that Shields stays in Green Bay by placing the franchise or transition tag on Shields but that has to be done today by 3 PM central time and there has been no indication that the Packers are even considering this as an option.
It’s understandable why the Packers would allow Shields to test the market. The two sides are obviously in disagreement on what fair market value is for the fourth-year corner from the University of Miami and one way to determine that is letting the market decide.
However, it’s a risky strategy for the Packers to employ because while the market is strong for free agent corners, Shields is just 26 years, runs sub 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and is a proven playmaker entering the prime of his career.
Players like that don’t often hit free agency and when they do, it normally means a big payday.
Unfortunately for Green Bay, the first few days of free agency are always highlighted by big spending sprees and enormous contracts. If Shields, ends up being part of that early spending spree, then there’s little chance he comes back to the Packers.
Here’s to hoping the Packers have correctly read the market and Shields will re-sign with Green Bay on a fair-market deal after properly assessing his value on the open market.
Unfortunately, that sounds like a dream scenario that’s not likely to come true.
The more plausible outcome is that some team overpays for Shields services, while the Packers get left out in the cold after allowing a true difference maker to depart from a defense already lacking them.
You can’t hang onto regrets in the National Football League but I truly believe that if Shields leaves in free agency, the Packers will look back on the decision to allow him to become a free agent and they will regret it.