Ted Thompson just cannot win.
Every off season, critics complain that he is not active enough during free agency season. His unwillingness to venture into these strange waters and sign the “big name” free agent that many desire leaves him as an open target.
Then he goes out and does things like resign free agent CB Sam Shields.
Of all the Packers free agents, Shields was the one player who needed to be targeted to be resigned, and that is exactly what Thompson went out and did.
And here is where the criticism begins.
Shields’ new deal, reportedly 4 years/$39 million, had some saying Thompson overpaid for Shields. And that may be true. Shields is not a top tier cornerback-yet. But his new contract will reportedly make him the second highest paid cornerback in the NFL in 2014.
If the numbers are correct, and Shields continues to ascend as a player, he will be a bargain by the third and fourth seasons of this new contract. A bargain contract for a (hopefully) top tier player. And that is a move that every Packers fan would be praising.
But right now according to some, Shields has been overpaid for the body of work he has produced.
And this is where Thompson just cannot win.
If Shields was allowed to walk away in free agency, fans would have been sharpening their pitchforks and lighting torches, with Ted Thompson being the recipient of the attacks.
Instead, he resigns Shields, and gets criticized for overpaying him, banking on his ascension as a player.
You cannot have it both ways.
Shields was going to get paid. If not by the Packers, by another team. And when you have a defense that has had as many issues as the Packers have had over the past several seasons, letting one of the key players go would not have benefited anyone except the team that signed him.
Now it is true this contract is similar to the one signed by Morgan Burnett last off season. Burnett was seen as a player on the rise, and was rewarded with a huge contract extension. He responded with a poor season, and left many wondering if the contract was earned.
Shields is similar to Burnett in the sense that he is seen as a rising player. He was rewarded for his play on the field, and the hope that he will continue to do so.
Yet Thompson receives criticism for resigning one of his own free agents.
He just cannot win.
Maybe this will be the year that he ventures back into free agency and signs the “big name” player that some are clamoring for. Imagine the praise he would receive if he actually did that. And imagine the backlash he would receive if that player-that “big name” player-failed to live up to expectations after the Packers signed him.
But Thompson will have gone out and signed a “big name” player, right?
Like I said, Thompson just cannot win regarding free agency.