A lot of cornerbacks have been overpaid this off-season, Aqib Talib (57 million over 6 years), Vontae Davis (39 million over 4 years), and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (35 million over 5 years). However, I’m shocked that Sam Shields was also overpaid (39 million over 4 years) for two reasons. One, the Packers usually do a great job of not overpaying guys in free agency as Ted Thompson is one of the best in the business. Two, unlike the aforementioned three cornerbacks, Shields didn’t have his best season in his contract year.
He’s definitely flashed in the past, but he was Pro Football Focus’ 52nd ranked cornerback this past season. I would have thought they could have gotten him cheaper as a result. I’ve held off on grading this deal until now because there was a chance that the increased salary cap meant we might see a lot of head scratching deals this off-season and I like to grade on a curve and grade moves against each other. That hasn’t been the case. When you compare this deal to the deals received by Brent Grimes (32 million over 4 years) and Alterraun Verner (26.5 million over 4 years), it easily looks like one of the worst moves of the off-season.
Sam Shields has definitely flashed in the past, grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 15th ranked cornerback in 2012 and dominating down the stretch as an undrafted rookie in 2010 on the Packers’ Super Bowl run. However, he also graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 92nd ranked cornerback in 2011 and then there was last year. He’s also never played a full 16 game season, missing 11 games in 4 seasons, including 6 games missed in his dominant 2012 season. That’s a very inconsistent history.
There’s no way he deserves to be the NFL’s 3rd highest paid cornerback in the NFL in terms of average annual salary (9.75 million). The only reason this deal isn’t a D or worse in terms of my grade is because they only guaranteed 15 million and can cut him after the first season if he struggles, though at a cap loss of 250K. However, even a 1-year, 15 million dollar deal is too much for Shields and I highly doubt they’ll be bold enough to cut their losses after this season if the situation presents itself.