According to the latest calculations by ESPN's Kevin Seifert based on a projected 2014 salary cap of $132 million, the Packers currently have the sixth-most cap space of anyone in the league, at $34,197,930.
Only the Oakland Raiders ($66.3 million), Jacksonville Jaguars ($55.1 million), Cleveland Browns ($51.2 million), Indianapolis Colts ($40 million) and Miami Dolphins ($38.1 million) have more free space than the Packers.
The Packers have been working to finalize a long-term deal with Shields, having met with his agent Drew Rosenhaus last week at the combine. If they can’t get a deal done before Monday, which is the deadline for teams to use the tag, then they might use it as a tool to continue their negotiations.
It’s hard to imagine them actually paying Shields the franchise price, which for cornerbacks is expected to be around $11 million, but they have the cap space to do so.
Minus the $11 million tag, the Packers would still have $23,197,930, which would be the 12th most in the league. That would leave plenty of room to re-sign some of their other notable free agents such as defensive linemen B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly plus perhaps center Evan Dietrich-Smith, outside linebacker Mike Neal and receiver James Jones.