While most NFL fans have their attention turned to the free agency frenzy that is slated to begin this afternoon, some NFL teams like the Green Bay Packers are still taking care of business with their own restricted free agents as clubs have until 4pm ET to tender offers to restricted free agents before the new league year begins.
Today, the Green Bay Packers have decided to place the second-round tender on their most prized restricted free agent, Sam Shields, a third-year corner that was undrafted out of the University of Miami back in 2010, according to a report issued by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Shields, who missed part of the 2012 season due to injury, showed promise near the end of the season and started to have the look of a true shutdown corner by the end of the year as he finished with 28 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defensed. He also had an impressive interception return for a touchdown in the NFC Divisional Playoffs against the San Francisco 49ers.
There was some debate about whether the Packers would use the first or second-round tender on Shields but since he is still a relative unknown at the position and has yet to prove he can sustain a high-level of play for an entire season, Green Bay must have felt safe in just placing the $2.023 million tender on him, which will fetch the team a second-round draft choice if another team signed Shields to an offer sheet and the Packers declined to match.
Here is what one NFL personell director told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about Shields and the tough decision the Packers faced about what tender to use on him:
“(Shields is a) very good role player as a third corner, but he is small and more than likely it’s safe to assume he will have some injuries because of the lack of size,” one personnel director said. “This is a tough one that I’m glad we don’t have to ponder this year.
“I am guessing they will do the two and will always have the (match) if someone does offer and they want to keep him.”
At this point it is unclear whether or not the Packers have discussed a long-term deal with Shields but if he can play the way he did down the stretch last season, he should have a place in the Green Bay secondary for the foreseeable future.
That is of course, unless another team swoops in with a big offer and tries to steal away the speedy corner. Then the Packers would need to accelerate their decision on whether they are comfortable committing to Shields for the long-term.