This will come across as pouting and before we get into Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields in free agency, I have to say that I really wish I were still writing about a Packers team who was preparing for their next playoff game. Such is life.
So what about Shields? Well, last year Shields was a restricted free agent and the Packers placed a second round tender on him, meaning that if Shields negotiated a deal with another team and Green Bay chose not to match it, the receiving team would have owed the Packers a second round draft choice.
At the time that the Packers were gathering for training camp and there was talk that he might hold out if he was not given a long-term deal. Shields’ agent is Drew Rosenhaus, who is no stranger to a holdout, an interview or an attempt to pan for the camera. Shields eventually signed his tender with the Packers and played out his one-year, $2.023 million deal this season.
A likely motivator for Shields to get signed and into camp was that there was expected to be competition at the cornerback position. Shields missed significant time in 2012 due to an ankle injury suffered early in the season but returned late in the year to help the Packers earn another division title.
Shields also had an interception for a touchdown early in the divisional round playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. Still, looming over Shields’ shoulder were cornerbacks Casey Hayward, Davon House and rookie Micah Hyde.
Shields kept his starting spot and had a stellar 2013 season, tallying 61 tackles, 17 passes defensed and had four interceptions in just 14 games.
Two of Shields’ interceptions will not soon be forgotten. The first was a game-saver late in the win against the Dallas Cowboys on a play that, had Shields not made, likely would have gone for a touchdown and prevented the Packers from winning that game. The second was the last play of Green Bay’s week 17 win over the Chicago Bears to seal the division title. Shields intercepted a Jay Cutler Hail Mary pass that somehow failed to make it to the end zone.