Cornerback Sam Shields has thirty-nine million reasons to like his place with the Green Bay Packers. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Thirty-nine million reasons why Sam Shields should be grateful

The Green Bay Packers tonight announced the four-year, $39 million ($12.5 million signing bonus) deal they reached with cornerback Sam Shields – one of, if not the team’s best defensive players. However, Shields has also had coverage inconsistencies and troubles with injuries as he grew from an undrafted free agent to up-and-coming talent.

Ted Thompson obviously feels Shields’ upside is a good gamble. If he can stay healthy and add his cornerback talents to a group that already includes Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward and Davon House, the Packers could excel in 2014.

It appears the Packers had Shields as their top target all along – even though Shields had announced he wasn’t going to sign with the Packers, but was headed to the free agency market. The Packers didn’t let Shields out of their sight. In fact, the team placed thirty-nine million reasons as to why they liked Shields on the table and that’s the reason why he’s a Packer tonight.

That’s a pretty nice reward for a guy who was an undrafted free agent.

Sam Shields Intercepts.

Sam Shields Intercepts.

Packers General Manager Ted Thompson is all about value and the re-signing of their own. Well, they’ve gotten off to a pretty good start to the free agency period. The quick announcement of the signing was good news for Packers fans, the team and Sam Shields. For the next four years Shields is now expected to raise his talents to a new level. He’s the best-paid Packers defensive back and he will be expected to play like that.

He’s had injuries that have hampered him at times over his first four years and in fact, he left the Lambeau Field turf in the team’s first defensive series of the Packers January playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Despite that, the Packers have been appreciative of his efforts.

Who can forget Shields’s game-sealing win in the 2010 NFC Championship game against the Chicago Bears? And how about that interception that helped turn that wild comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys this past season? That play also helped turn the Packers season. Without that comeback win, the Packers would have had no shot at the playoffs. Shields’ interception and the team win were defining moments of the 2013 season.

In four seasons, Shields has 13 interceptions, 135 tackles, 22 assists, and 43 passes defensed. He’s been burned by some of the best, but he’s also played tough against the the likes of Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and A.J. Green among others.

Packers fans have got to be pleased with this signing. Not only does this bolster a crucial position, but it keeps together a group of cornerbacks that will be challenged to continue to improve.

We expect a lot from Shields as he transitions from up-and-coming player to one who has arrived.

And he has thirty-nine million reasons why he should do so.


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