Packers XLV

Shields Re-Signs; Everything Else Is Gravy

Posted March 9th, 2014 @ 07:03pm

I was probably as surprised as most of you when I heard that the Packers had come to terms with Sam Shields on a new four-year deal. After all, the sides were reportedly far apart as the clocked ticked toward free agency and, well, his agent is Drew Rosenhaus.

But the first day of free agency gave players, agents and GMs an idea where the corners were in the pecking order and Ted Thompson ponied up big time. Shields' new deal makes him a top five paid corner. Not bad for a college wide receiver and undrafted free agent.

And he's worth every penny. The Packers' defense has enough holes everywhere else. Losing Shields would have meant drafting a corner early, or finding a couple cheap veterans in the second wave of free agency. At 26, he's on the uptick and possesses speed that is hard to find. With Tramon Williams on the back end and the Pack's other top corners, Hayward and Hyde, more adept on the inside--Shields can match up with #1 receivers. He'll be expected to at his salary level.

Since I assumed Shields was history, I look at whatever happens over the next few weeks to be gravy. BJ Raji may or may not accept the Pack's offer. Expect that decision to happen this week, once he finds out whether a team is willing to pay him more on a long-term deal than the reported $4 million the Packers offered for one year.

Now we'll wait and see what interest there is in guys like Raji, Mike Neal, James Jones, John Kuhn, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless. It sounds like the New York teams may scoop up the tight ends--look for that to be a focus of tier two free agents and the draft.

Thompson still has plenty of money to spend. If the Shields deal is structured  like many think, he'll only count five or six million against the cap this year. Thompson has plenty of money to re-sign the guys he wants back. I would guess Raji, Neal and Dietrich-Smith would be the internal priorities.

I expect these guys to move on: the tight ends, James Starks, Jones, Raji, Jolly and Kuhn. Look for the Pack to bring back Ryan Pickett, Neal, Flynn and Dietrich-Smith.

As far as looking to the outside for help: don't expect much. The free-for-all will hit on Tuesday and when the smoke clears over the weekend, Thompson will look at what's left and begin shopping for bargains.

After all, he just bought his big ticket item of the offseason, the Pack's most vital free agent. Now it's time to do some coupon clipping.

 

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Comments (13):

The last time the Pack gave #1 CB $ to a #2 CB--it didn\'t work out so well (Tramon). Cuz Tramon has been routinely toasted since signing that contract in 2010. Look for Shields to become just as much as a bust extension as Tramon most definitely has.

on March 10th, 2014 at 12:35pm

Couple things...first, Allen isn\'t going to Big D because Jerry can\'t afford him - for that matter he can barely afford his incoming draft class. He\'s in a world of hurt with the salary cap. \'Boys won\'t be a factor for several years. You\'re more likely to find Allen out hunting pheasents this fall than QBs. Second, yes, Seattle signed a couple guys and got their ring, but consider this - they were able to do it by having a QB who was only $600K against their cap. The stars were in alignment for that year, but I wouldn\'t expect the same result given all things status quo. They\'ll be the favorites this year, but then again every SB champ is the favorite every year, and how\'s that worked out over the last 10 years? And third, Denver is loading up, but I\'m sticking by my preditction that the Broncos don\'t make the playoffs this year. They\'re getting too long in the tooth and getting longer with each (alleged) signing - especially if Ware signs. We can discuss that further into the offseason.

on March 12th, 2014 at 03:40pm

One more thing...don\'t make a trade for a 30 year old kick return specialist. DRAFT ONE!! Just sayin\'...

on March 12th, 2014 at 04:23pm

Davy ....your poll question has an easy answer, What is the Pack\'s most pressing need...Dline, pass rusher, athletic linebackers, a safety. The easy answer is \"All of the above\" With kudos to my good friend \"The Voice\" our defense needs amajor over hall in all those areas. This is 2014 professional sports and TT is being left in the dust. The closed pocketbook and trying to go draft and develop is too difficult in todays NFL. You need to compliment your team with decent impact player free agent signings. The last few years have shown that you CANT KEEP PLUGGING IN 5TH AND 6TH ROUND AND FREE AGENT BARGAIN PLAYERS AND EXPECT RESULTS . I know this is TT\'s way but time will tell that draft and develop may work in college but not 2014 NFL. GO PACK GO !!

on March 12th, 2014 at 07:08pm

[Look out…major rant warning!!] I’m going to keep preaching this till I’m blue in the face…stay away from the expensive “impact” free agent guys, whatever you do. Any team that does better get on their knees every night and pray that, a) he better play up to the money he’s getting paid, AND b) he doesn’t get hurt. Anybody want to bet whether or not DeMarcus Ware is a bust in Denver this year? I see Darrelle Revis just signed in NE – anyone think he’ll do better there than he did in TB? My guess is no. NFL free agency is nothing more than a glorified waiver wire…the guys that their own teams are willing to give up on for one reason or another. Every one of them have a flaw…too old, too expensive, or too brittle – sometimes a combination. And teams want to throw money at these guys expecting a miracle? Jarius Byrd was a 2nd round pick in ’09 – why all of a sudden he’s worth $56 million off the cap that New Orleans still needs to find money for signing Jimmy Graham? The problem here is that some team owners, and a lot of fans, think the Super Bowl is the goal year in and year out. I got news for you…IT’S NOT!!! And you’d be foolish to think that, because let’s face it – it just doesn’t happen all that often. Teams that take the all-or-nothing approach more often than not get burned sooner or later. If you knew that 2 or 3 years from now, if the Packers blow their entire cap on several “impact” free agents going for broke this year resulted in several seasons of 4-12, 3-13 or worse, would you say to yourself it was worth it? It’s a very real possibility. Think about that for a moment. The Ravens went for it and cashed in last year, and ended up not making the playoffs this past season. Why? Because they had all these ridiculous salaries dogging them down, they had to dump a bunch of guys just to stay under the cap. IS THAT WHAT YOU GUYS WANT?!? I, for one, sure don’t. I want a consistent playoff team year in and year out. If in a given year they end up one-and-done, so be it – at least they got there and had a shot. Baltimore didn’t! Even the Vikings went for broke with the Favre experiment and look what that got them…several losing seasons and another head coaching change. IS THAT WHAT YOU GUYS WANT?!? The first week of free agency is for desperate fools, both team management and fans. The smart teams will wait it out and let the market come to them. Thompson knows what he’s doing. BE PATIENT! How many of you guys were clamoring for the Packers to sign Steven Jackson last year? Who would you rather have now, him or Eddie Lacy? Dumb question, isn’t it? Do you think the Packers being able to draft Lacy was an accident? HELL NO! If Thompson was able to trade BACK in the draft to get him, what does that tell you about TT? A few of you guys who are about my age probably remember the dark ages of the 70’and 80’s when the words “Packers” and “losers” were synonymous. Remember all the lousy personnel decisions back then? I don’t want to go back to those days!!! I want a consistent winner! I want a team that makes the playoffs every season and has a chance to get hot at the right time and make their run! I don’t want a team willing to mortgage their future to go for broke with no guarantees. How’d that work out for Denver this year? They went for it, came up short, yet they’re still mortgaging their future thinking their window is still open. Anyone here still think Peyton has a full tank? How’d that work out with Favre and the Vikings his second year? You simply can’t push all your chips to the middle of the table and not expect to get burnt on the other side – it just doesn’t work that way. Now if I make take our beloved Head Cheese to task, he is quoted as saying, “Draft and develop can only take you so far”. I’m sorry Dave, but that is absolutely WRONG! In the salary cap age, draft and develop is the proven, successful way to build a winner. A number of things have to go right for it to work, such as obviously drafting the right guys and (here’s the key), being patient with them until they develop into a value part of your roster. If he doesn’t work out or get hurt, it’s not as devastating financially if he’s a bust than if your $56 million free agent turns out to be a bust or gets hurt. You just keep the process going by continually drafting and developing. Now suppose you hit a home run with a guy and becomes a core member of your team – THAT’S the guy you resign. Those are the guys you don’t let hit the free agency open market. Back in the early days of free agency, that was the mistake the Eagles made that allowed the Packers to get Reggie White. A similar instance like that would never happen nowadays. But by the same token, you need to know when it’s time to let a guy go and draft his replacement…TT will have that part of it figured out a season or two in advance. Pro football is a game of replacement, so always have a plan to have a replacement ready to go (unfortunately last year’s QB situation is an example where it didn’t work out, but that mistake won’t be repeated). Some of you are barking that TT isn’t doing anything. I got news for you – he’s doing PLENTY, like letting the market come to him rather than him going to the market. If the right guy comes along at the RIGHT PRICE, he’ll make his move, and not a moment sooner. Good team don’t panic, and neither should we as knowledgeable fans. Everyone should exhibit just a little patience, wait for the draft, let the process follow its course, and the Packers should be in the playoffs for the 6th consecutive year.

on March 12th, 2014 at 08:37pm

Voice, you make a lot of great points as usual, BUT, I think all OSSG and I are asking for is 1 or 2 big signings, not the whole bank roll. even 1, i would be happy. do you remember last year when seattle picked up those 3 defensive players and I and I said there my team to win it. I know they had wilson with small number for salary, but look at the patriots, they mix it up, a lot in draft and some in FA. to me the 1st 2 rounds in draft are for starters, and the rest are for depth and special teams. sometimes TT misses in the draft, which they all do, so when you do, you make up for it by a FA. 12 will be in his prime for 5 more years, when he is gone and we make the playoffs every year, and don\'t get back to SB, i will not be happy, and I was one of those watching in the 70-80\'s. when you have talent like 12, you have to win now, like you said look at the other teamd with no qb, that can\'t win. we may never agree, but it\'s fun talking about it, on sproles, I\'ll take proven vs hope on flyer in draft anytime. i will take that bet with you on denver also. they will be in SB, unless manning gets hurt. and Ware will have 10 or more sacks, let\'s watch. have fun guys with the new year. I think I was right last year. GO TT.

on March 12th, 2014 at 09:36pm

Larry, you and OSSG (and Dave) know full well I respect your opinions, and you can obviously tell this is a topic I\'m willing to spar over all day long, and believe me, it\'s fun. I\'ll pose this question...which FA(s) should the Packers look at? What are they worth? (Remember, even though it\'s not YOUR money technically, it IS in a way, so think in those terms for a moment). What\'s he worth, both in $$$ and in talent? Is his talent worth the $$$? If you\'re going to make that kind of investment, it HAS to work out, or it\'s big trouble later on. And I\'m going to disagree with you on another point - I will take a young guy with lots of upside ANY DAY over a proven vet who\'s best days are behind him. Remember how great Desmond Howard was on his first GB tour? Remember how big a bust he was the second time around? Think it can\'t happen again? Give me young and promising any day over old and limited. This is a young guy\'s game!!! Trading for Sproles (I\'m assuming for a draft choice)would be a bad move - his upside is very limited (one or two years maximum?), he\'d be too expensive, and you could get a younger guy to do the job for a lot longer for a lot less. Don\'t think of a drafted rookie as being \"the unknown\"...he\'s far from being an unknown by the time he reaches the floor at Radio City Music Hall. Believe me, TT knows what he\'s getting, and he knows what he\'s doing. If a guy\'s talent and value meet, TT will make his move. Don\'t forget, Charles Woodson didn\'t sign with the Packers until 3 days before the draft. Now THAT\"S value! Does a talent like Woodson come along every year? Of course not. But when it does, and the price is right, you\'d better be ready.

on March 12th, 2014 at 10:21pm

like I said on last post on davey\'s blog. thanks u TT for getting Shields, if they don\'t draft a safety in 1st round, they have to be moving Hyde over there, and hayward will be 3rd cb. I still want Ebron te, from n.c. at 21 pick. if not let\'s hope pryor or Ha Ha dix is there. for all the hype that jerrod allen may come to pack, no way. he is going to cowboys I think. perfect fit. would love to get Ware but sounds like he is going to broncos. see Voice, seattle did it last year, when out and signed 3 big names on D , and won it all, now denver is doing it. we need to fill some holes in FA. now it sounds like we will lose our center again like we did with Wells. here we go again. then lang or Tretter may have to play it. don\'t like it TT. butt your the boss. let\'s see how this plays out and pray. Go Pack

on March 12th, 2014 at 11:28am

I Forgot this, trade for sproles, he is your return guy, and 12 will love him on 3rd down. I heard queens want him too. come on TT do something please.

on March 12th, 2014 at 11:52am

Voice....You are missing the main point Larry and I are trying to make. We are not saying throw big money at the Wares, Peppers, Allen types at the end of big contracts unless you can pick them up for a song. Can you really say in your heart of hearts that standing pat and doing nothing in free agency outside of resigning Shields is an improvement?? We are not 1 or 2 players from a Super Bowl....especially on defense....resigning Lattimore, Neal, and Quarless is going to put us over the top? I totally agree with Larry....the first few days of free agency are where the good pickings are......you want those guys coming off of their rookie contracts at 24-25 years old heading to their prime. I agree we do not want the 30 plus guys unless at basement prices. The Bears, Lions, and Vikes all made free agent moves. You can debate if they work out and time will tell. We have many holes to fill and TT will have to have not a Top Ten draft but a Top Three draft to improve. When you have Rodgers in his prime you need to get better \"NOW\" . I\'m sure TT will try and go into the draft with his usual 10 to 12 picks somehow aquire and hope we find the next Jerel Worthy or MD Jennings. Denver and Seattle got to the Super last year with some good free agent signings. I hope TT is working the countryside and studying all kinds of film because he needs a career type draft. GO PACK GO !!

on March 14th, 2014 at 10:36am

OSSG (and Larry)…OK, fair enough. I’ll address each point you bring up. For starters, the modern NFL is ruled by one thing, and one thing only – the salary cap. It runs your team, whether you like it or not. Just as Jerry Jones how he feels about that now that he has to purge a bunch of guys just to get under the cap. JJ has abused, or more accurately, ignored the cap for years figuring he could dole out piles of money for players and just push those monies into future caps, and guess what happened? The bill came to his office marked “payment due in full”; it came around to bite him in the butt, and now the Cowboys have entered the rebuilding/non-factor mode for several seasons. The Broncos are in full throttle “ignore the cap” mode right now thinking they can milk one more 55 TD season out of Manning. Does anyone here realistically think Peyton can repeat that? They already let a young, talented receiver walk out the door (Decker); to me, they’ve got “major train wreck” written all over them because they’re in “win now or else” mode, and that bill is coming due a lot sooner than they think, IMHO. Again, I’m sticking by my prediction that the Broncos go in the tank this season, and I’m not wavering on it. Yes, I’m getting off track here a bit, but I bring these examples up to reinforce my point. Every one of these guys on the free agent market have one thing in common…the team they played for previously doesn’t want them anymore. So as an example, let’s take Jarius Byrd. Why didn’t the Bills try to retain him if he’s so good? I’m speculating here, but maybe he copped a bad attitude for getting the franchise tag stuck on him last year and the Bills were tired of his whining. They probably could have restructured his contract (which they should have thought about a year or two ago), so they decided to let him go. So now the Saints ponied up $56 million, with $28 million of that guaranteed. Is a free safety worth that kind of money? I’d have to question if a shutdown cornerback is worth that - not to mention he has to learn a new system that he may or may not be familiar with. No matter how you slice it, that’s a hell of a lot of money, FOR ONE GUY!!! And what if he goes down – then what?!? Theoretically I agree, he’d look good in green and gold, but how would you like to be Micah Hyde playing next to this guy knowing full well he’s making 5 or 6x what you do and does the same thing you do? You don’t think there isn’t a trickle-down effect going on here? This ain’t fantasy football, where the parts are all interchangeable; this is the real deal, with real money, and real personalities. As far as I’m concerned, the Saints better hope that a guaranteed $28 million better bring with it some additional guarantees or it’s going to be at minimum a $28 million mistake. When you go for these big buck guys, you are really rolling the dice. If you roll boxcars, great (example: Favre in ’09); if you roll snake eyes, may the fan base have mercy on your soul (example: Favre in ’10). But I keep hearing this piece of reasoning…”it’s only one or two guys”. Sometimes that’s all it takes to trash a franchise’s future. I find it hard to believe the Vikings signed a cornerback who originally was a 7th round draft choice and gave him $15 million for 3 years. If he lasted until the 7th round and he’s that good, why didn’t they pick him up the first time around? Sell low and buy high is not a good way to run a team. Picking up these guys in the first few days of FA is a high risk gamble any way you slice it. Are one of these guys are going to, and I’m using your words here, “put us over the top”? Can you guarantee that? Of course not; nobody can. But can you weigh the percentages of winner vs. bust? For that kind of money, it better be 80% or higher for me, because if it’s anything lower, that’s too big a risk. Right now, TT is bringing back the guys he knows, and all of them know the system, so there’s no huge learning curve involved. He’s also waiting for the market to come to him, rather than having the market dictate to him what his next move should be. I’ve asked this before, and I’ll ask it again – are you willing to go for broke for another Lombardi, even if the possibility of a 4-12 season within the next few years looms ahead? If you were a Broncos fan, following a team that went for broke last season, how would you feel right about now? They dumped all that money into their “savior” (AKA Payton), and stunk it up on the big stage. The Packers are now 4 seasons removed from their Super Bowl win, and look where they are – they are still a factor, and have been every season since. Where do you think the Broncos will be 4 seasons from now? Do you honestly think they’ll be a factor in 4 years (or less)? To me, those terms are completely unacceptable. I don’t want the Packers ever drafting in the top 10, because the teams that do…STINK!!! Here’s another statement I’ll repeat from earlier posts – give me a team that’s a consistent participant in the playoffs each and every year, rather than a SB win maybe once every 15 years followed by years of mediocrity. Each season a team’s goal should be to reach the playoffs and nothing more. If you reach the playoffs, THEN it’s time to reevaluate your goal…not before. It’s sort of like the Powerball – you can’t win it if you don’t have a ticket. Get me a ticket to the playoffs, and I’ll take my chances there. I don’t want to take my chances in March. Bottom line – the big money free agents’ risks far outweigh the rewards.

on March 14th, 2014 at 12:20pm

Oh, one more thing. To answer your question about “Can you really say in your heart of hearts that standing pat and doing nothing in free agency outside of resigning Shields is an improvement?”…my answer is yes. That’s what the draft is for. See you in May!!!

on March 14th, 2014 at 12:31pm

Our defense had enough holes. We didn\'t need to add cornerback to our list of needs. I\'m glad to have him back. Overpaid? I don\'t know. With the cap rising this year and the need every team has for quality corners in this pass happy league? It wasn\'t too long ago that a packer gm drafted 3 guys in a row to try to fix our secondary. Don\'t need a repeat of that!

on March 9th, 2014 at 05:50pm

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