4

March

Cory’s Corner: Raji and Shields aren’t worth worrying over

B.J. Raji was not franchise or transition tagged by the Packers.

B.J. Raji was not franchise or transition tagged by the Packers.

There is no reason to worry about the Packers not tagging anyone with a franchise or transition tag.

I can totally understand not tagging B.J. Raji. Here’s a guy that scoffed at $8 million and if the Packers applied the franchise tag it would’ve cost them $9.654 million and $8.061 million if they used the transition tag. The Packers aren’t going to spend that kind of cash on a guy that appeared disinterested last year — which happened to also be a contract year.

Raji, while only 27, will likely be paid a king’s ransom but will never live up to his 2010 season in which he had 6½ sacks and gave us his own rendition of twerking in the NFC Championship at Chicago.

The same goes for Shields. The Packers’ secondary has been in shambles ever since Charles Woodson lost his ability to cover at a premium level. That unit has made subpar passers like Colin Kaepernick look like Peyton Manning and has put more pressure on the front seven to generate a pass rush.

Shields would be owed $11.834 million if he were franchised and $10.081 if the fourth-year cornerback were transition tagged. Another twist in this whole equation is that Shields’ agent is Drew Rosenhaus, the antichrist for front office pro teams. Rosenhaus is the guy that tells his clients to hold out while asking for more money and a long-term deal.

The 26-year-old Shields has blossomed into a reliable corner. I wouldn’t say he’s the shutdown corner the Packers covet and need for a division loaded with guys like Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery but he is solid. ProFootballFocus.com has Shields as the 52nd best corner — 12 spots below teammate Micah Hyde.

The Packers have proven that they are unwilling to overpay just to keep a veteran. That was proven when the Packers let go of center Scott Wells in 2011 — which happened to be the same year he was named a Pro Bowler for the first time.

Many people see that the Packers have the sixth-most cap space with $34,197,930 and wonder why none of that is getting used. Ted Thompson knows that Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb must be taken care of after this season and he still may sign a defensive free agent.

Not tagging Raji and Shields is seen as doing nothing. But there is plenty below the surface that we don’t know about. Will Thompson decide to trade up to get a defensive lineman in the draft? How many free agents is Thompson willing to get? Will the team roll over some of that cap money and put it into more Lambeau Field improvements?

Both guys were good players but they aren’t the dynamic players that opposing offenses build a scheme around.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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---- Get AddToAny

65 Responses to “Cory’s Corner: Raji and Shields aren’t worth worrying over”

  1. Anonymous says:

    A Raji playing DE isn’t worth worrying about… The Raji that played his natural NT position for one year in ’10 is really worth it!

    Shields is a damn good CB, bordering on a playmaker. Our D needs more playmakers not less!

    Grimes gets 8M per, sign Shields to that right now. Shields is a still ascending player and could be a playmaker in ’14 and beyond.

    We need to get the D better not worse.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 11

    • SchenySchen says:

      Shields and Rosenhaus, according to reports are looking for more than Grimes got, north of $8M, because Shields is younger. That is why we can’t just sign him to $8million.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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        • Ed Schoenfeld says:

          Is Shields consistently significantly better than Williams?

          Because that is what paying him more than $8 million says. Paying Shields that much if he is not significantly better than Williams also says the Packers are willing to pay top dollar for merely ‘good’ performance. And it says that to every player the Packers actually want to keep (Nelson, Cobb, etc.)

          There is more than one player oer even one year’s worth of players involved in managing the cap.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

        • someone who isnt retarded says:

          shields better than grimes?!?!! AHAHAHAHAHAHA do you know what football is?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

      Yeah – I think Raji’s better position is NT. But he’s never been into playing a 34 2 gap scheme. Never.

      He’s greatly contributed to a SB winning team already. Now he’s only into his wallet. Do I blame him? I’m torn. Half of me says “if you are going to do something, you do it to the best of your ability.” The other half knows how dangerous football is at the pro level, and doesn’t blame the man for doing the least he can for the fewest amount of years for the biggest amount of dollars.

      Shields is an ascending cover corner with some ball skills and his makeup speed is as good as it gets. BUT he’s over-prone to gambling, he’s not a great tackler and he can get manhandled by bigger receivers because of his lack of size.

      He’s worth a top end 2nd tier contract at his age. No more. If he wants 10 mil a year – see ya!

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      • Anonymous says:

        All I got to say is Raji played the 2 gap pretty F’in good as the NT in ’10. Playing out of position since.

        Shields has gotten better every year. He did a pretty damn good job when he took AJ Green (4 rec 60 yds), and matched up vs Marshall and Jeffrey. He improved his tackling immensely this year and think he’ll continue to get better at it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

    • 1stngoal says:

      I wouldn’t lose much sleep if they lost Raji in FA, but Shields is someone they need to re-sign. “You can’t teach speed” is the old truism, and Shields has plenty of that…

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      • Dobber says:

        You can’t teach size, either, and he has little of that.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

    • someone who isnt retarded says:

      PAY SHIELDS 8M WTF!?!?! shields isnt CLOSE to being a premium corner. #52 in the league sounds about right. Tramon blows too, and comparing shields to tramon is like comparing wendy williams to pam oliver in a who looks more like a horse contest. blowing 15m on tramon and shields is blasphemy. we could have 3 adequate cbs (same level of efficiency as shields and tramon) for that price. economically, breaking the bank for shields a terrible idea.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

      • Mark says:

        Come on, the site is about football, not your opinion of girls looks.

        You are right, Tramon and Shields are going to be overpaid. CBs and LTs are overpaid. Safeties and guards are underpaid, it’s the market.

        On Raji, I don’t know his “grade.” Does he execute his assignment? As a fan I don’t see impact any more, but he is a first rounder.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  2. FourEyesBrewing says:

    Shields finally put together a good season, yes, but before this season he was known mostly for blowing his coverages and not being able to make a tackle. He’s still guilty on occasion of peeking into the backfield and letting his man go past. I’m not saying he’s not worth re-signing, but I think Cory’s hesitancy to get on the bandwagon are completely valid.

    Let’s put it another way. Assume that when the Packers are on the clock with the 21st pick, all the player you wanted are gone (Pryor, Clinton-Dix, Mosley, etc.) but Gilbert is still on the board. Would you regret having signed Shields knowing that you could have Gilbert instead?

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  3. Razer says:

    Totally agree with the author on these two players. I would love to have them back, playing at a high level. But paying them top dollar, based on previous performance, isn’t warranted. Imagine the stream of complaints about Shields if he signs for $8 million per year – doesn’t play the run, can’t tackle, peeks in the backfield, not tall enough, etc.. If they want star money then they need to play like stars game-in-game-out. See Jordy Nelson for a definition of the guy earning it every week.

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  4. Devan says:

    You don’t roll over money from the cap to do improvements to your stadium. Thats not the way teams run their franchises. I don’t know if that was meant to be a joke, but if it was then it wasn’t funny, and if it wasn’t it is extremely misinformed.

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    • 1stngoal says:

      LOL, I had to laugh at your comment. Maybe he should’ve inserted some tags so that people wouldn’t misinterpret… ;-)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. marpag says:

    Another reason for the Packers not spending their $34M of cap space is that the free agency signing period hasn’t actually started yet…

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  6. chad lundberg says:

    With the kind of money both Raji and Shields are (supposedly) demanding, and I know I’m in the minority here, but I would let both of them walk.

    Shields a good corner, but all this talk about how he’s an absolute must sign tires me because it’s as if people think he’s a top 10 corner. He’s good, but not great IMO.

    I would sign him for 5.5 or so a year, but any more than 6 million a year then we are officially overpaying someone. People forget that the reason the Packers have so much cap space in the first place is because they’re so assertive when it comes to overpaying their athletes. It’s simple, they NEVER do that!

    Plus, as long as Williams restructures his contract and Casey Hawyard stays healthy, I’d say we’re fine at CB. Deep even, especially with Hyde and House.

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    • Archie says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • chad lundberg says:

        Hawk, Jones and Burnett are all overpaid, but that’s still pretty good compared to most other teams. It’s not like any of them are on a $100 million contract like some teams are stuck with.

        But if you think our Guards are overpaid then you’re just trying to discredit yourself.

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  7. Cory Jennerjohn Cory Jennerjohn says:

    Devan, it was meant to be sarcasm.

    Take care.

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  8. Tarynfor12 says:

    What good is worrying about a leaking vein when the aorta is ruptured.

    The more dominant the front seven are the better your d-backs look/play even if they aren’t top 5-10.

    Close the aorta and the veins will mend themselves.

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  9. Nopainnogain says:

    Totally agree. We’ve seen this scenario before. People whined when TT let Wells go. What has he done in St. Louis? Not much. Same with Jennings and Bishop. Even Cullen Jenkins didn’t work out in Philadelphia and really was only worth his money in the 1st year of his contract.

    However, I would be careful about taking Shields’ 52nd highest PFF grade to mean that he was the 52nd best corner. those are 2 different things. some corners draw tougher assignments than others, and the grades do not account for this. I’m sure Hyde’s grade would be alot lower if he had to line up against the AJ Greens and Calvin Johnsons of the world instead of the other team’s #3 guy. Shields was #15 in PFF last year when we weren’t matching him up full-time on the opponent’s #1, while TWill was #61 because he was receiving some of those tough assignments. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Shield’s grade dropped to #52 while TWill’s rose to #39 in the same year that Shields began seeing the majority of those tough matchups instead of TWill.

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    • Hank Scorpio says:

      As far as I’m concerned, if I never hear about PFF rankings again, I’ll be happy. At some point, there needs to be a common sense override on a system that says Micah Hyde performed better at CB in 2013 than Sam Shields. It’s a ranking system that produces garbage results. It did so at ILB and DL among Packer players, if I recall correctly.

      Mentioning PFF had Shields 52nd was a good, fact based support of the premise of the article. Adding that Hyde was 12 spots higher just served to discredit the information, IMO.

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      • Nopainnogain says:

        I don’t have a problem with PFF. It’s a tool, and like any other, it can be helpful or misused. I think it does a decent job in comparing guys that perform similar roles. just have to make sure it’s an apples-to-apples comparison. For instance, you could probably trust the grades if you are comparing Calvin Johnson and AJ Green since those guys perform similar roles for their team as the #1 receiver and get similar defensive attention. Or if you were comparing the grades at Center or OG since those positions don’t vary much from team to team. People just need to realize that there are Sometimes significantly different roles even within the same position classification.

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  10. John says:

    Excellent reasonable article. There is no reason to sign Raji, he was the worse DE in football last year. Shields was in the middle of the pack as a number 2 corner. If he would take average number 1 corner money, give it to him, else let him walk. But, TT must pursue ALL AVENUES to fix all the holes on defense. If he does not, he should be fired.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  11. John says:

    I don’t know why everybody is on the bandwagon saying that Raji is a better DT than DE. PFF grades do not bear this out. They actually show that Raji has performed better as a DE than DT. I am guessing that is why the packers moved him to DE in the first place.

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  12. Archie says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • SchenySchen says:

      Archie calling for “objectivity”….now I really have seen everything.

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  13. SchenySchen says:

    On another note, if we don’t sign a number of our guys and they go to other teams, we will reap the reward of a number of compensatory picks for next years draft. On the short list to sign elsewhere for more than we are willing to pay: Raji, Shields, James Jones, Mike Neal, Finley, EDS, Quarless possibly. The rest of the list is roster fodder but that would still add up to a number of extra picks for us next year (depending on who we pick up in FA). GoPack!

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  14. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    Raji can walk. He is just not a very good player. Thank goodness he turned TT down on that contract. That would have been a crippling signing for the packers.

    Shields on the other hand can hopefully be re-signed. I do not think he will get 8 million per season. I would bring him back at 7mil or less per year.

    yes it would be great to have a dominant front seven and not have to worry about covering guys…but the packers do not have a good front seven. they will have to have good cover corners for the foreseeable future. The packers have not drafted a quality corner with the exception of Hayward in over a decade. Mike McKenzie may have been the last one. They found tramon and shields as udfas. The odds of doing that again are miniscule. When you spend the time to develop a player in the packers system you have to be willing to overpay a little bit. if you told me that the packers would sign a guy like verner is shields walks I would be fine. but I think that is unlikely.

    let raji walk and make every reasonable effort to sign shields. he is a player on the way up with all of the tools to be a premier player at his position. that is exactly the type of player that TT covets normally.

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    • Icebowler says:

      Maybe Verner has a more reasonable agent than Shields?

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  15. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    also, shields may be the second best player on this defense. who is better than him besides CM3?

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    • someone who isnt retarded says:

      arguably micah hyde, mike neal, mike daniels, and aj hawk were as valuable as him. and thats not saying much on a defense that has one player that isnt garbage. cm3 is probably the only other player who would start on a good teams defense.

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      • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

        micah hyde? not even close. the only guy that I would say was close to shields would be daniels. he consistently made plays.

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        • marpag says:

          I would have higher expectations for Hayward than I would for Shields.

          I would still like to sign Shields, though, (at a reasonable price, of course) because T Williams is 30, no longer great, and won’t last forever.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Oppy says:

    Raji is not worth worrying about as long as the Packers play a 3-4 base and use lighter, quicker interior linemen when we go into four man fronts in sub. I’m tired of all the talk of how good a NT he is. He isn’t. He’s going to be worth a good amount of money to some team who is playing a 4-3 and needs an interior lineman to be disruptive. That’s not what he’s being asked to do in GB, and he doesn’t do what he asked to do in GB any better than average, and that’s being generous.

    Sam Shields is already a CB who has shown extremely rare speed and ball skills. Remember, he’s only been playing defense since his senior year in college. His arrow is pointing up and he has another 3 years before he’s going to peak. IMO, he is a priority signing. I think if you pay Sam 9 mil/year right now on a 4 year deal, you’re going to feel pretty good about that price in two years.

    Sam Shields isn’t a poor player, he’s a relatively immature player (speaking in terms of development, not personality), and he’s only going to get better.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

    • Stroh says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Oppy says:

        If you were paying attention, you would know Raji gets displaced easily when he plays the nose, his anchor is suspect. If you were paying attention, you would know Raji struggles getting off the double team and playing both gaps when he plays the nose.. Can you please explain how these deficiencies add up to being a good NT?

        If you were paying attention, you would know the reason why Raji has been playing less at the nose is because he’s not nearly as good as Ryan Pickett is at the position… That’s a fact.

        Lastly, Raji just doesn’t have the heart or the disposition to be a good, let alone great, NT. As I’ve said over and over, Raji is built to be a disruptive, one gap penetrating DT, probably a 3 tech guy. In that capacity, he can use his short area burst and surprising quickness to blow up plays in the backfield before they solidify. Put that kid on a jet assignment and let him get after it, he’ll be a handful.. But he’s a shitty NT.

        In case you haven’t noticed, so many people who actually know line play agree with this assessment, that it’s just about to the point where one can say that it’s fact, not opinion.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

        • Stroh says:

          Was he displaced at NT in ’10? Hell No!

          We don’t know why Raji and Pickett switched places. MY opinion is different than your OPINION. Mine is that the coaches feel Raji’s better movement ability allows him to be the better fit at DE, since Pickett is as stationary as it gets. Otherwise it makes no sense to move Raji, who had a Pro Bowl season at NT in ’10.

          I think Raji is sick of being forced to play out of position and wants to go somewhere to play his natural NT position. Raji would be an adequate 3 tech, but he isn’t a natural at that position either. NT in a 34 or 43 is his natural position.

          I could care less how many people agree w/ what assessment. Your assessment is as much speculation as mine. Only the coaches and Front Office know the real story. So you can quite the charade that just cuz its a more popular assessment its the correct one! Popular opinion is in NO WAY fact! Get over yourself already!

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

        • goatlava says:

          Raji would be lucky to see any long term contract. He lacks football passion, hence, the rejection of the 8 mil per year contract offer by the Packers. Clearly the guy is deluded to think he is worth more at his position. I can think of at leat 15 other starters better. Than to say he would be better served at the 3 technique is another delusion itself. His pad level has always been a problem and to show absolutely nothing the past 3 years at NT proves to me you cant come in last at the poles in a race and have people expect you to win the race. The guy is a half eaten candy bar melted in the sun on the sidewalk – junk.

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  17. Charles Martin says:

    I personally think Raji is a fat blob not worth 8 cents/yr. Even the Raji lovers out there have to admit he dogged it big time this year. I don’t want a fat blob that doesn’t give it his all. Paying him more isn’t going to change that. Problem with Shields is his agent…

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  18. tim says:

    Really good cornerbacks like shields probably get overpaid, but they can cover up blemishes elsewhere, and maybe make a play or two to win a game here and there. Crappy corners (and safeties) result in slow death. Its not a position where crappy is easy to cover up. I would put a priority on signing shields for his skills and upside. He’s not the best in the league, but he’s our best, and better than a lot of other options.

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  19. Morgan Mundane says:

    Raji got fat out of shape and lost his power. Every time I watched him he was getting shoved to the ground face first by a bigger stronger O linemen.
    He was too slow to stop the run and pass rushing was nil at best. BUM!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  20. Since '61 says:

    IMO Raji hurt the team in 2013. He needs to go. He has his SB ring, now he justs wants the big payday. That would be OK if he played for it but he didn’t. Pack should move on. As for Shields I would prefer to keep him but not for more than $6 mil. If he gets more from another team so be it. We’ve already overpaid Burnett. Shields is a good corner but not a top corner. He has not yet earned top corner money. As I have said before, we were 26th ranked defense with him, we can be 26th ranked without him. He ain’t no Herb Adderly. Thanks, Since ’61

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    • JimR_in_DC says:

      Well said, Since ’61.

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    • wim says:

      no one was like herb adderly. he was the first of the corners who really eliminated half a field and to have jeter on the other side was not so bad either. shows how old i am. but the earlier post that says shields is the second best guy on the D is right.

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      • JimR_in_DC says:

        Yep

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      • goatlava says:

        To say Shields is the 2nd best D player on the team is not a good thing. I would disagree with that statement looking at Pickett, Hawk, Williams in that order. IMHO, D-Line comes before LB and LB comes before DB. If GB had a solid DL, LBs would be better giving DBs much better opportunities.

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    • Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

      Losing Raji is addition by subtraction. He was one of the least productive players in the NFL last year.

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  21. grizzlymitch says:

    Shields is a good corner and has tremendous upside. Raji needs to be someone else’s problem. Resign Shields for along term. Five years and he’s done.

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  22. Jim Brown says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  23. tim says:

    Shields isnt at the top, he’s no Adderly for sure, not even a Tim Lewis or Willie Buchanan. On the other hand, I’m worried about the next guy should we lose shields. Remember Ahmad Carroll? Or for the older crowd like me, jerry Holmes, or estus hood?

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  24. SDPackfan says:

    So if Raji just is not that good and does not deserve a big 2nd contract (as most seem to think is the case and i tend to agree) does the person who used the 9 pick in the 2009 draft on BJ get a pass for taking what has turned out to be pretty mediocre player?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

    • goatlava says:

      The Hater speaks again. I think it was a great. Remember, TT also maneuvered to pick up CM3. Raji played excellent his rookie year and played a vital role in getting to the SB and winning it. He wasn’t paid that much over 4 years and to be a major role player in 1 of those 4 years which contribuTED in a SB is a great pick! There are many players on the D – Line throughout the league who are paid more in 1 year than Raji was in all 4. What an absurd question! Maybe SDPackfan should just stop hatin’, start thinkin’ rationally, and just become a Charger fan.

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  25. Eric says:

    “Another twist in this whole equation is that Shields’ agent is Drew Rosenhaus, the antichrist for front office pro teams. Rosenhaus is the guy that tells his clients to hold out while asking for more money and a long-term deal.”

    Obviously you don’t pay much attention. Front offices love to work with Rosenhaus because he gets the deals done. It is only about every other year or so that he has a client hold out.

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