If everyone could please remove their green and gold colored fan glasses for a moment, I would like to ask a question:
Is Sam Shields the one player who will propel the Green Bay Packers into making a serious Super Bowl run in 2014?
Tough question, isn’t it?
As Shields prepares to hit free agency after he and the team could not come to an agreement on a new contract, that is what the Packers will have to answer-is Shields worth the money he and his agent Drew Rosenhaus will be seeking?
With reports that the offer the Packers presented to Shields was in the $6-$7 million per year range and Shields is still getting ready to gauge his value on the open market, his agent could be doing nothing more than trying to drive the price of his client up.
He could also be forcing the Packers into making a very tough decision regarding the veteran cornerback.
One could argue that Shields is essential to the defense. A shut down corner who prevents opposing teams from shredding the secondary (any more than they already do) and helps keep the Packers defense honest.
On the other hand, Shields has a total of zero All Pro selections and zero Pro Bowl selections (he was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate in 2013) during his four year career.
Is that performance worth more than $7 million per year for a long term deal?
The Packers do have two tools available to them which gives them protection in keeping Shields if they choose to use them. The Franchise Tag and the Transition Tag. The price for applying them to Shields for one year of service? A mere $11.8 million for the Franchise Tag, and $10.1 million for the Transition Tag.
Each of those numbers would ensure Shields playing in Green Bay in 2014-and the price tag would be more than they are currently scheduled to pay fellow cornerback Tramon Williams ($9.5 million) next season.
Think about that for a moment-the Packers could potentially have almost $20 million tied up in their starting CBs for 2014.
Good thing they have roughly $34 million in cap space to work with should they choose to go down that road.
They also have a second round draft pick in Casey Hayward and a fourth round pick in Davon House on the roster, as well as Jarrett Bush, Micah Hyde, Jumal Rolle, and James Nixon in case they do lose Shields to another team.
There is also a bumper crop of CB talent getting prepared to enter the NFL via the draft, as well as an excellent group of fellow free agent cornerbacks, should Ted decide to take the scary leap into free agency.
Circling back to the original question: is Shields the one player who will propel the Packers into making a serious run at a Super Bowl in 2014? I say no.
Considering the talent that will be available over the next few months via the draft and free agency, and the payday that Shields will most likely be looking for, the Packers would be better suited moving on. Allocating the money they would have spent on Shields would not be that difficult to do, with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb both in need of long term deals.
Would it hurt, losing a veteran player like Shields? Of course it would.
Would it be the end of the world if he does not return? No, it will not.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.