Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Packers Overpay to Re-sign CB Sam Shields

I had just finished my write up on CB Sam Shields for my Bears free agency post (coming soon), when I saw that the Packers had agreed to a deal with Shields for 4 years, $39M. That makes Shields one of the three highest paid corners in the NFL. Wow. Shields is a good corner and only 26 so he has some upside, but CB Brent Grimes who is already one of the 3 best corners in the NFL just got $8M a year. Shields has potential to be great, but he’s not there yet. He is inconsistent, injury-prone, and is a liability against the run.

Shields was ProFootballFocus’ 52nd ranked corner last year and had the 4th worst grade against the run (107th of 110) in the league for cornerbacks who played at least 25% of their teams snaps. They rank Shields as the 6th best free agent corner, just ahead of Charles Tillman who will probably make about a 5th of Shields per season price. ESPN Insider’s Bill Polian, who was the Colts GM for 13 years, gave Shields a C+ grade. That C+ grade translates to a slightly above average starter worth around $3M per season. CBS Sports ranks Shields as the 6th best free agent corner with a grade of 72, which is the equivalent to a barely above average starter.

The Packers have historically been a very smart organization under GM Ted Thompson, so it’s possible they know something about Shields that the rest of the league doesn’t and they expect significant improvement from Shields, but I would be shocked if there were any other teams out there offering close to just under $10M per season for a player that seems to be universally considered just above average. I admit I was hoping the Bears made a run at Shields because I think he’s a very good cover corner (when healthy), but if the Bears had given Shields that same contract I would have been disgusted. I’m interested to hear what Packer fans have to say? The few I know are happy that Shields is in the fold, but upset with the price. At the end of the day, the Packers got better and the Bears missed a chance to do the same. Let’s hope that the huge cap hit the Packers took to bring Shields back comes back to haunt them down the road.

Twitter: @MikeFlannery_


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  • George

    • David Hofstedt

      Nice George. People forget Shields has only played corner 5 years. At that point in the 2010 NFC Championship game he’d played 1 year in College and 1 year in the Pros. Not to bad for a UDFA. The thing about Shields contract is it’s not front loaded. The first 2 years are easy on the cap and if Shields doesn’t improve like he has EVERY year, the Packers can either redo the contract or cut him. It’s a great signing!

  • George

    Jay Cutler is overpaid

  • John Vassar

    Mike, All I could do was blink at those numbers. I like Shields but at this price? Oh My, did the Packers over pay. I am not sure the Packers got better, for all the did was write a blank check for the same guy they already had. I feel a cap squeeze coming over the next few years, as the piper has to be paid. Interesting to read the details of the contract. Just WOW

    • Jason Gorski

      Just when have the Packers been in a cap squeeze? The Bears are always in a cap squeeze and are the same mediocre mess they always have been and always will be. Anyone who signed jay Cutler for 18 m a season – is obviously dumber than a diner full of Bears fans thinking their team will make the playoffs.

  • John Vassar

    I also heard Mike, that Verner thanked GB for that contract. Now he wants more than Shields. Oy! LOL

  • Goodshepherd Americanbullies

    That was silly

  • MickMoney

    well genius the cap hit is only 5.6 mil this year, still plenty of cash to spend on free agency. The contract is totally back loaded ripe for restructuring or if he really goes down hill, 26 year old who has only played corner for 5 years and runs a 4.3 I doubt it, we can cut him. Once again Pack owns the NFC

  • Mike Flannery

    The details of Shield’s 4-yr, $39M contract hadn’t been released yet when the article was posted. It’s not as bad of a deal as it looked at first. At least it’s back-loaded so they can cut Shields in two years when he is still mediocre (or injured) without out too much of a penalty. But… It does look worse now that a younger (25), significantly better (Pro Bowl), Alterraun Verner signed for just 4-yr, $26.5 million.