An item that’s flying under the radar in the aftermath of the NFL Draft is that cornerback Sam Shields remains unsigned.
The April 19 deadline for restricted free agents has come and gone, meaning Shields can no longer sign with another NFL team, but he still hasn’t signed with the Packers either.
The thing is, there’s an offer on the table. The Packers had reportedly placed a second-round tender on Sam Shield this offseason, which is a one-year deal worth $2.023 million.
Perhaps Shields and agent Drew Rosenhaus were looking for a first-round tender worth $2.879 million, but it wasn’t their choice to make.
Either way, the Packers and Shields have to come to an agreement at some point. Either Shields must accept his one-year offer, or they can work out a multi-year deal.
By signing a one-year deal, Shields can become an unrestricted free agent next season and shop his services to any team he desires.
But as the old saying goes, a bird in hand is better than two in the bush. In other words, a multi-year deal from the Packers would provide security to Shields now.
In essence, a long-term contract would guard against an injury and the potential that Shields wouldn’t get much interest in free agency in 2014.
The Packers were reportedly working on a multi-year deal as recently as Apr. 15, according to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com.
But that was then, this is now. Shields remains unsigned and now a June 15 deadline looms when the Packers have the opportunity to lower their offer to the free agent cornerback.
“If Shields does not sign the tender by then, the Packers have the right to limit his salary to 110% of the year before,” writes Tyler Dunne of JSOnline.
The June 15 does not necessarily prevent Shields from holding out, however. He can still work out a long-term contract with the Packers at any point, if the Packers are willing.
Working in Shields’ favor is that he’s arguably the fastest player on their roster and is a young, ascending cover cornerback. Players like that tend to be in-demand commodities in the NFL.
The Packers do have other options at cornerback, however. Casey Hayward is coming off a rookie season in which he finished third in the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.
On top of that, they also have Tramon Williams and Davon House and added Iowa’s Micah Hyde in the fifth round of the NFL Draft.
It’s also worth finding out if Shields has been taking part in the team’s offseason strength and conditioning program.
Players who are not under contract have the opportunity to take part in offseason workouts if they sign a waiver, but whether Shields has done that has gone unreported.
Offseason workouts are voluntary under rules of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, so Shields is under no obligation to be in Green Bay.
Wide receiver James Jones recently said in a local radio interview on Green Bay’s WDUZ that the Packers have a 100 percent participation for the team’s offseason workouts, but whether that included Shields, who is technically not under contract, is similarly unknown.