Shields Ready To Compete for Job, Contract

He didn't get the long-term contract he covets, but Sam Shields signed his restricted free agent tender after being "home too long." Shields had a big season but knows his starting job isn't secure.

Sam Shields, his restricted free agent tender signed on Monday, said he was ready to "rock and roll" on Tuesday.

"It felt good signing," Shields said after the first day of the two-day minicamp. "I wanted to be back. I was tired of being home. I was home too long. I was just ready to sign the tender. I didn't get what I wanted. I was like, ‘It's not going to go that much farther so I might as well sign the tender and get back.'"

What Shields "wanted" — and wants — is the security of a long-term contract extension. What Shields didn't have was any leverage. The signing window had closed without receiving an offer from another team, so Shields had nothing to gain by letting the tender go unsigned.

So, Shields signed his $2.023 million tender — a guaranteed contract — and will work toward getting the big deal he covets.

Shields stayed away about as long as he could. With the minicamp and next week's organized team activities practices, Shields will have two weeks of practices under his belt before the break until training camp.

"I'm not that guy like ‘I'm not coming cause I didn't get paid,'" Shields said. "I need to get paid but business is business. I wanted to get paid. It didn't happen. I came and signed the tender and I'm here now."

Shields acknowledged it was important to get back to work, even after posting five interceptions in 12 games (including playoffs). Cornerback is deep, with Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward and Davon House joining Shields in the competition for the top three spots. Plus, a fifth-round pick was used on Micah Hyde and young corners Loyce Means, Brandon Smith and James Nixon have opened eyes.

"Certain plays, that's what they were looking for and that's what I had to do," Shields said. "Hopefully, I get the starting position. I've got to compete because there are more great young guys that are here and I've got to keep competing to keep that position."

Shields had a quiet practice. After missing the first two weeks of practice, he was put on a limited snap count so the coaches could evaluate his conditioning.

"This is about installation, getting the scheme in, extra time on the fundamentals," coach Mike McCarthy said. "This is the learning part of the year that's so important for development of each and every player, and Sam is definitely one of those. We have time for the competition and everything to sort itself out in training camp."

Shields' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, met with Packers officials on Monday, though those were lay-the-groundwork talks rather than significant discussions toward a deal. Whether he gets an in-season extension or will have to wait until free agency in the spring remains to be seen.

"It's all on me," Shields said. "I've got to go out there and ball out. Do what I've been doing and it speaks for itself."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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