The Packers will not be able to come to a contract agreement with cornerback Sam Shields before the March 8th deadline and will let Shields test the free agent market according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
This comes as somewhat of a surprise as all indications were that the Packers were serious about retaining Shields and Shields is on the record as saying he wants to stay in Green Bay.
The two sides reportedly talked at the NFL Scouting Combine but those talks have broken off as the too sides were too far apart. The 26-year-old Shields is coming off the best season of his NFL career, posting four interceptions and 51 tackles in fourteen starts in 2013.
The speedy corner will not lack for suitors and could garner a contract in the $7 million/year range. Shields played the 2013 season on a one-year, $2.023 tender.
The Packers definitely want Shields back but are relatively deep at cornerback and are clearly not offering the kind of money Shields and his agent are seeking.
There are a lot of quality corners on the free agent market this year, however, and Shields could still end up back in Green Bay on a team-friendly contract.