If you were Sam Shields, would you want your second (and most lucrative) career contract to be based off a strong 10-game performance in 2012? Or would you bank on yourself, play for $2.02 million in 2013 and seek a better deal as a pending free agent after a presumably longer and more successful season?
That's the dilemma facing Shields, the Green Bay Packers cornerback who has yet to sign his restricted free-agent offer sheet in lieu of a longer-team deal. He has not participated in organized team activities (OTAs) and wouldn't seem likely to report for mandatory minicamp, which starts this Thursday, both of which are signs that Shields would prefer a long-term deal now.
In fact, according to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Packers and Shields' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, have a face-to-face meeting scheduled for Monday. The timing suggests interest by at least one of the parties in getting Shields to minicamp.
Last season, Shields intercepted three passes during the regular season and two more in the playoffs, including one he returned 52 yards for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers. A shin injury forced him from six games, however, and he played on only 53.9 percent of the Packers' defensive snaps.
Shields figures to see substantially more playing time than that in 2013 following the release of veteran Charles Woodson. It's reasonable to assume that Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward and Shields would be the Packers' top three cornerbacks when healthy. We'll see if anything shakes loose in the next few days.