Cornerback Sam Shields has signed his restricted-free-agent tender with the Green Bay Packers.
In March, the Packers decided to give Shields a second-round tender that is worth $2,023,000 for the 2013 season. Shields did not show up for the team’s first two weeks of offseason organized team activities. But, with mandatory minicamp practices beginning Tuesday, Shields — with agent Drew Rosenhaus in tow — signed the tender Monday afternoon.
The move was officially posted on the NFL’s transaction wire.
Shields was seeking a long-term deal with Green Bay, three years after the Packers signed him as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Miami. Now 25 years old, Shields has far surpassed the production of a typical undrafted player. He has started a total of 21 games and has nine interceptions, 28 passes defensed and 102 tackles.
When the Packers began OTAs, coach Mike McCarthy was disappointed that Shields was one of only two players to not be in attendance.
“I wish Sam was here,” McCarthy said on May 21. “He’s not here for his specific reasons that I’m sure if he wants to answer them, he can answer them. It’s about the opportunity to compete and our secondary is very competitive.
“I wish he was here.”
It will be a difficult battle for Shields to win a starting job this upcoming season. Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt has stated on multiple occasions that it will be an open competition between Shields, veteran Tramon Williams, third-place Rookie of the Year finisher Casey Hayward, up-and-coming Davon House and fifth-round pick Micah Hyde.
Shields is a bit undersized at 5-foot-11 and 184 pounds, but he is arguably the fastest player on the entire Packers’ roster. To get the contract extension that he wants, Shields will need to put that speed to good use this season to convince general manager Ted Thompson to make him part of Green Bay’s long-term future.
It is possible that the Packers and Shields could still agree to a multiyear deal in the coming weeks or months. But, as it stands now, Shields will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason.