Sam Shields To Hit Open Market

12:30pm: This morning’s news is a negotiating tactic by Shields’ agent Drew Rosenhaus, in the eyes of Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel writer Tom Silverstein, who weighed in on the situation. Silverstein considers the Packers’ $35MM in cap space and thinks the fact the two sides have been talking without settling on a deal indicates “a very different view of Shields’ worth.”

Prior to the scouting combine, it was believed Shields could take a deal similar to the one recently signed by Bears cornerback Tim Jennings, who inked a four-year, $22.4MM contract ($11.8MM guaranteed). Last season, Jennings tallied 57 tackles, 13 passes defended and four interceptions compared to 61-16-4 for Shields. For what it’s worth, Pro Football Focus rated Shields 42nd and Jennings 45th among cornerbacks who played at least 50 percent of snaps.

The Packers are probably willing to pay $6-$7MM per year, says Silverstein (via Twitter). In the same tweet, he says Rosenhaus’ conversations in Indianapolis revealed interest from other teams which “definitely affected Shields’ demands.”

Shields, who is taller, faster and younger than Jennings, stands to benefit from the cap going up, and Rosenhaus anticipates an active market for Shields even if the Packers don’t consider him an $11.83MM player. If they did, they would have locked him up accordingly or be willing to use the franchise tag. On Twitter, Silverstein reiterated there’s “no way” the Packers will do so.

11:03am: Earlier this week, it was believed the Packers and free agent cornerback Sam Shields were closing in on a new deal, but things have changed today. Shields will not re-sign with the team before March 8, according to Pro Football Talk. Instead, he’ll hit the open market, where the services of a young, fast, emerging cover man will be highly sought after.

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