Today was the first day NFL teams could officially speak with outside free agents. Usually, the players already have a decent idea of their market value through the institutionalized tampering that goes on the in the weeks prior. All that's left for the agent to do is leverage those offers against one another to garner their client the best deal possible.
Apparently, this process only took Drew Rosenhaus a few hours to complete.
According to multiple reports and confirmed by his agent, Sam Shields and the Packers agreed to a four-year, $39 million deal to keep the cornerback in Green Bay. The deal also includes a $12.5 million signing bonus.
In his four years in the league, Shields has yet to play like a top five player at his position. If this contract is any indication, the Packers anticipate Shields moving into that territory in the coming years. While the exact breakdown of the contract isn't known at this time, Shields will earn a yearly average of $9.75 million. That ties him with Johnathan Joseph and Lardarius Webb for the third highest average salary for a cornerback.
Still, losing Shields would have left a sizeable void in the Packers defense. With Tramon Williams entering the final year of his deal and a potential free agent loss a year from now, the Packers guaranteed themselves at least one of their top corners for 2015 and beyond. Shields' new contract also reduces the temptation to acquire a cornerback in the upcoming draft.