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CB analysis: Re-signing Shields a must

Feb. 27, 2014
 
Sam Shields should be the Packers' top priority at cornerback. File/Press-Gazette Media
Sam Shields should be the Packers' top priority at cornerback. File/Press-Gazette Media

The eighth of a 10-part position-by-position analysis of the Green Bay Packers' roster and how they should proceed during the offseason.

Cornerbacks

UNDER CONTRACT: Tramon Williams, Micah Hyde, Casey Hayward, Davon House, Jarrett Bush, James Nixon, Jumal Rolle, Antonio Dennard

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT: Sam Shields

Where they stand

This is one of the most well-stocked positions on the roster, which is a good thing in the pass-happy NFL. Williams is making a lot of money but lived up to his contract with stellar play late in the season. Shields is getting better every year and played well enough to earn a lucrative free agent deal in the coming weeks. Hayward, Hyde and House all have the potential to develop into starting cornerbacks but have some questions that must be answered. For Hayward itís a nagging hamstring injury that ruined his 2013 season. For Hyde itís the question of whether he would be better suited to play safety. For House itís bouts of inconsistency.

History lesson

Itís easy to forget how good Hayward, a second-round draft choice, performed in 2012 when he led the Packers and all NFL rookies with six interceptions. He started seven games in place of the injured Shields and held up well with 25 passes defensed, 55 tackles and a forced fumble. Assuming he can recover from a nagging hamstring injury that kept him out of all but three games in 2013, Hayward should be a major player on the Packers defense.

Action plan

Among all the Packersí unrestricted free agents, Shields should be the top priority to re-sign. Heís not going to come cheap but the Packers have sufficient salary cap room to lock him up. If negotiations bog down, the Packers can always use the franchise tag option as leverage. There have been suggestions the Packers might ask Williams to take a pay cut, but such a move would send the wrong message in the locker room for a player that hit his stride in the second half of the season. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Hyde could be moved to safety, but such a move will likely depend on the health and performance of Hayward and House. The Packers have the luxury of passing on cornerbacks high in the draft and focusing on more pressing needs.

About this blog

Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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