Sam Shields should be happiest guy in Packers locker room


Sam Shields is surrounded by Packers personnel after he went down with a knee injury early on in the Packers vs. 49ers Wildcard Playoff game. His injury will have no effect on his next contract and only underscored just how valuable he is to the team. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Sam Shields is surrounded by Packers personnel after he went down with a knee injury early on in the Packers vs. 49ers Wildcard Playoff game. His injury will have no effect on his next contract and only underscored just how valuable he is to the team.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

 

The announcement by the NFL late this week that the team salary cap would rise even more than expected – to $133 million per team – was welcomed news around the league … especially in Green Bay where the Packers are now looking at nearly $35 million in cap room.

That should make a lot of free agents, especially one Sam Shields, very happy.

Clearly, Shields is and has been the team’s top target in the re-signing room, but there are other players and other factors that are going to play into this offseason for Packers GM Ted Thompson and the rest of the team.

Jordy Nelson scores a touchdown versus the 49ers back in 2010. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Jordy Nelson scores a touchdown versus the 49ers back in 2010. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

For instance, what about the need to lock down receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb? What about the need to solidify the offensive line by addressing the fact that center Evan Dietrich-Smith is about ready to test the market? And just what are the Packers going to do with free agent defensive linemen B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly? Don’t forget about James Jones and John Kuhn- surely they would also like to be part of the discussion.

Just because the Packers sit on a wad of cash – the sixth highest salary cap space in the entire league – it doesn’t mean that Thompson is sitting at 1265 Lombardi Ave with his checkbook wide open. In fact, I would bet my bottom dollar on the fact that he has it squirreled away in the same bottom drawer where it’s been for years.

It will be first things first with Thompson as the team inches toward the start of Free Agency March 11 (actually March 8, if you count the day when discussions can actually begin). You’ve got to believe that Thompson is ready to re-sign Shields, come to an understanding – if not offer real extensions to Nelson and Cobb – re-sign Dietrich-Smith, and then let his defensive linemen test the market. Heck, he will also probably re-sign Kuhn on the cheap. And Jones? Thompson has got to let him make a few calls and visit a few people. Jones is much better than to throw him a bone – that would be disrespectful. We would love to have him back, but we all also understand that Nelson and Cobb come first and there’s only so many dollars to throw around.

Will Tramon Williams come to peace with the Packers and restructure his contract to make room for more? Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Will Tramon Williams come to peace with the Packers and restructure his contract to make room for more?
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Exactly how and whom the Packers target in the draft will have to rely completely on what the team does in free agency. If Thompson brings any of his defensive linemen back, he will most likely target a defensive backfield player in the draft. If he doesn’t bring his wall of weight back, then a defensive lineman may be in his crosshairs. Much might also depend on whether Thompson can get a player or two (calling Tramon Williams here) to restructure their contracts to make more room for another player re-signing or two.

So many questions are floating out there and we all know there’s just one guy – Ted Thompson – with all the answers.

Exactly where this team ends up when all is said and done is a mystery at this point in time – and the reason why we enjoy this game so much.

Let the drama continue …

Tags: Featured Free Agency Green Bay Packers Popular Sam Shields

  • Jerry Trittin

    Best article I’ve read on Packers free agency this week. I think Shield’s will be back , unless someone else offers him more than a million a year over what TT offered. Patience is the key at this time of year (for Packer fans and TT). Most of the FA’s will find out that the market is not exactly what their agents led them to believe. The dominoes are not all going to fall the way we hope or expected. I hope we can resign Shields, Quarless, and EDS and get NT Nix in the 1st round and a Safety in the 2nd or 3rd. I know it won’t come down exactly that way, but I think this year TT will actually sign a few outside free agents to compensate.

  • Nick Hesterly

    Ideally:

    1) CJ Mosley ILB Alabama – Highly unlikely he’ll fall this far… but if he does Packers need to run, not walk to the podium.

    2) Ed Reynolds FS Stanford – Highly productive safety with all the intangibles… with the Packers missing out on both Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round they nab someone with a potentially higher ceiling.

    3) Jeremiah Attaochu OLB Georgia Tech – The biggest thing that separated the Packers from other elite 3-4 defense is our lack of pass rush… Attaochu brings massive speed to our linebacker core… he has the potential to be a 10 sack LB IMHO.

    3c) Donte Moncrief WR Ole Miss – Could end up being the steal of the draft… has solid hands, deceptive speed and amazing strength… he will provide Aaron Rodgers with another potentially elite target.

    4) Josh Mauro DE Stanford – Packers are looking for length and strength going forward instead of bulky DE like BJ Raji (yes, he played DE)… Mauro is an absolute beast against the run and has the skill-set and speed to potentially become a nightmare in the pass game.

    5) Justin Ellis NT Louisiana Tech – Packers add a massive, massive, massive body with deceptive initial burst. He has all the tools to develop into a major headache. Likely would rotate rookie year with Josh Boyd, and a free agency signing (Ryan Pickett, Cam Thomas or someone to their level)

    6) Walt Aikens CB Liberty – Very raw but is extremely talented with a high ceiling. Like Sam Shields previously he could surprise early in his career.

    6c) Colt Lyerla TE Oregon – Highly talented yet had a very troubling 2013 which likely cost him being a top-64 selection. Packers have been forgiving with certain players: Johnny Jolly, Koren Robinson just to name two… If anyone can change his habits it’s the Packers. His upside in the Packers offensive is just too bright to pass this late. Packers should regardless resign: Andrew Quarless.

    7) Shamar Stephens DE UConn – Ideal strength and size… has room to grow into a solid back-up and rotational player for the Packers.

    Free Agency:

    1) Arthur Jones DE Baltimore Ravens – He is an elite 3-4 DE and brings a blend of run-stuffing and pass-rushing the Packers have not had since Cullen Jenkins. He will change the face of the defense overnight.

    2) Cam Thomas NT San Diego Chargers – Fizzled in San Diego this offseason but his blend of speed, strength and length is rare. He could flourish in the Packers defense or fizzle… huge gamble, but is worth the risk.

    3) Jacoby Ford WR Oakland Raiders – Meet the Packers #5 WR and elite punt/kick returner. He will surprise people with his playmaking abilities.
    4) Michael Oher OT Baltimore Ravens – This guy has really crumbled over the past couple years… he’ll likely sign for a cheap one year deal… it’s worth it for his potential.
    5) Rob Jackson OLB Washington Redskins – Ted Thompson special bargain bin signing #4 of the offseason… guy looked good in relief and in for injured Brian Orakpo.. he could surprise in pre-season/training camp or become a valuable player in relief.

    Resign:

    1) Sam Shields CB – Packers will let him verify his true value in free agency. My guess he’ll get between 6m-6.5m…

    2) Evan Dietrich-Smith C – Another player who’ll get his valued graded via free agency.. even knowing, the Packers are high on Tretter they’ll give the nod to EDS for at least two more years.

    3) Andrew Quarless TE – A blocking TE with decent hands… he’ll be back as depth and red zone targets.

    4) Jamari Lattimore ILB – Packers love his special teams potential and is solid in relief.

    Release:

    1) Jarrett Bush CB

    2) Brad Jones ILB

    Restructure:

    1) Tramon Williams CB

    2) AJ Hawk ILB

    3) Morgan Burnett SS

    Extend:

    1) Jordy Nelson WR

    2) Randall Cobb WR