Cornerback Sam Shields has emerged as the best corner for the Green Bay Packers over the past few seasons. Entering this offseason, Shields was an unrestricted free agent, meaning he could sign with any team that offered him a contract. The good news for Packers fans is that Shields decided to stay in Green Bay after signing a four year, $39 million deal. Shields is scheduled to make $10 million for the first three years of the contract, making him the second highest paid corner in the league, only behind Darrelle Revis of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who earns roughly $16 million annually.
Since joining the Packers in 2010, Shields has played exceptionally well, intercepting 13 passes, including four last year. It was Shields who intercepted Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo that helped the Packers rally from a 23-point halftime deficit in December.
The resigning of Shields helps keep a good Packers secondary intact for the next few seasons. Cornerback Casey Hayward is returning after missing most of last season with a hamstring injury. In his rookie season two years ago, Hayward led the Packers with eight interceptions, which also ranked him the top five in the league. Micah Hyde is entering his second season, hoping to build off of a strong first year. Add to the mix a mostly reliable Tramon Williams and the Packers have four solid cornerback’s to matchup in the pass happy league.
With defensive nose tackle B.J. Raji leaning towards signing a one year deal to also stay with the Packers, general manager Ted Thompson can now start to focus on the NFL draft. While the Packers look set at the corner spot, Thompson really needs to take a hard look at safety. Even after signing Shields, the Packers still have a good amount of money to try and sign another free agent. If they don’t go that route, Thompson could look into taking a safety in the first two rounds of the draft.
All in all, the Packers were able to sign possibly there biggest free agent on Saturday. With Shields locked up for four more years, the Packers now have their top two defensive players in green and gold for a long time.