Breaking Down The Deal
At first glance, Sam Shields’ $39 million contract looks like too much money for a very good but not great cornerback. A second glance, however, tells a different story. Because the signing bonus is relatively small ($12.5M/32% of the total value), general manager Ted Thompson was able to both keep the cap number low in 2014 and also protect the team down the road. Shields will count around $5.6 million against the cap this season. That’ll leave Green Bay with about $27M to spend heading into free agency on Tuesday. And while the players’ cap number will go up markedly in the final few years of the contract, so will the team’s cap number. Also, by keeping the signing bonus manageable, the Packers could theoretically release Shields before the end of the deal and not take a big hit against the cap. I know it’s easy to look at Shields’ play and then look at $9.75M per year and think Thompson got abused by agent Drew Rosenhaus. But in reality, both sides had to compromise to reach an agreement. So who won? I’d give Rosenhaus the decision, but it was no KO.