The timeline on Sam Shields' negotiations

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Sam Shields signing on Saturday is a perfect case study for how things can happen during free agency and, perhaps more telling, how things are reported.

We shouldn't be naïve enough to think that agents and teams don't use the media to help further their cause, and that could explain why Shields' new contract with the Green Bay Packers came seemingly out of nowhere just a day after there were indications that no deal was imminent.

Let's take a look at the headlines as they pertained to Shields over the past several weeks:

Feb 24: Sam Shields, Packers talk deal

In this story, we noted that discussions between the two sides heated up at the NFL scouting combine with a face-to-face meeting between Shields' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, and the Packers. No deal was completed, but a source familiar with the negotiations described them as "ongoing" and expected the two sides to be in regular communication over the next several weeks.

March 1: Sam Shields to test free agency

In this story, just five days later, a source said the Packers and Shields will not have a deal completed in the next 10 days, meaning he will test the free-agent market.

March 7: No last-minute deal expected for Shields

In this story, which appeared one day before impending free agents could begin negotiating with other teams, we reported that there has been little or no progress in the six days since the report that Shields would hit the open market.

March 8: Packers re-sign Sam Shields

A little more than 24 hours later, the deal is done three days before Shields could have signed with another team. Shields and the Packers agreed to a four-year, $39 million contract. The full breakdown of the contract is not yet available.