Sam Shields intercepts the ball in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys.

Green Bay Packers Offseason Outlook: Sam Shields

Sam Shields breaks up a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports photograph

 

Diagnosing the disease that infected the Green Bay Packers secondary is no easy task. There will certainly be some changes made in the team’s defense this offseason in an attempt to stop the bleeding. We can be confident, however, that cornerback Sam Shields is a piece that the Packers would like to retain.

Shields spent much of his collegiate career playing wide receiver for the University of Miami. It was not until his final season with the Hurricanes that he made the switch to

cornerback. Shields went undrafted in 2010, but later found a home in Green bay. Here he has grown into an excellent NFL cornerback. As a 2014 free agent, Shields will be a coveted player by many NFL franchises.

The Packers have many though decisions to make this offseason. It is safe to assume, however, that Shields will be a top priority as Ted Thompson and the organization make plans to solidify the Packers roster for years to come.

While Shields’ performance on the field has been has been above average, his play has some room for improvement. This could be the most intriguing part for NFL teams to figure out. Has Sam Shields reached his full potential or are we investing in someone who will continue to get better in the coming years? Also, how do we compensate a player for potential?

It is likely that Shields could be allowed to test the market before signing with the Pack. However, the free agent market does include talent at cornerback this year. Aqib Talib, Alterraun Verner, DeAngelo Hall, Vontae Davis, Brent Grimes, Charles Tillman, and others should help keep the contracts in check. No one player will have the “corner” on the market.

Sam Shields

Look for Shields to sign a contract worth around $7 million per year. If he is able to get offers much above $7 million, then things could get interesting. The Packers would be wise to sign him, however. The alternative would nearly force Green Bay to use a high draft pick on a corner – a pick that is much needed in other areas of the roster.

All in all, look for  Shields to be back in the Green and Gold in 2014. He is far to talented to let walk. It should be noted that he did suffer an injury in the Wildcard round of the playoffs, but it looks as though this injury is minor and should not affect his value as a free agent or his health for the coming season.

Shields has gone from undrafted prospect to being an essential piece in the Packers secondary. He desires to be compensated for his growth as a player and production on the field. The Packers will recognize his value and make number 37 a long-term defender in Green Bay.

What about you? Should Sam Shields be the Packers’ highest priority heading into the offseason?

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