Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields has undeniable talent, but I’ve always been frustrated by his inconsistent play. Due to his considerable talent, Shields could be the highest paid cornerback on the open market this offseason, and he’ll most likely want to test the free agent waters. He could end up competing against the fringe-elite likes of Aqib Talib, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Brent Grimes, but Shields’s youth gives him a distinct advantage. He’s also much more likely to hit free agency than those other three, since the Packers don’t like shelling out money and would probably prefer not to use the franchise tag.
I think Shields is clearly worse than those three players mentioned in the first paragraph, but he has upside. Sean Smith received a sizeable contract from the Kansas City Chiefs when he was a free agent last year, and Smith did that in a more saturated CB market. I view Shields as comparable to Smith, because both are young, talented, and inconsistent CBs.
Per a source close to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s Ty Dunne, the Packers want to keep Shields around and have been in “regular contact” with the 26-year-old Miami product. However, the source also told the Packers that the chance of Shields sticking around in Green Bay is “50/50″, and I would be shocked if he doesn’t hit the open market.
Shields recorded 17 passes defended this past season, and he’s a solid starting corner due to his raw talent. That combined with his age gives him plenty of upside, and that makes up for his inconsistent run defense and burnability.