There’s been a lot of talk this week about former Packers’ Safety Nick Collins wanting to return to the NFL.  As sad as it is, the Packers and the NFL have no interest.  There will be talk as we move closer to Free Agency on March 11, about Jermichael Finley.  His agent says Finley “wants to be a Packer for life.”  That won’t happen either.  The Packers have a priority and his name is Sam Shields.  It’s an expensive priority.

Shields is 26 and coveted as a “cover corner.”  His value on the open market is significant, probably the highest rated corner on the market.  That’s if he gets to the market.  It’s the Packers job to make sure he doesn’t get there.  The Packers have until March 3rd to “Franchise Tag” Shields, almost certain NOT to happen.  Tagging Shields would likely cost the Packers more than $10.5M for the 2014 season.  March 11th is circled on the calendar…if we get to that date without a new Shields-deal…it’s not good.  The likely asking price will be in the $9M average salary range.  The Packers have significant room below the Salary Cap, but it will likely go quickly. 

Shields, plus decisions on BJ Raji, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, James Jones, James Starks,Evan Dietrich-Smith, Mike Neal, Andrew Quarless and John Kuhn are on the clock.  Cap management is complicated, so don’t look for the detailed solutions here.  Just know that there are priorities in Green Bay.  He is: Sam Shields.  2nd level priorities:  Dietrich-Smith, Neal, Jolly and Pickett.  NOT priorities: Finley, Jones and Stark.