Cory’s Corner: Raji and Shields aren’t worth worrying over
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. Hereâ€™s a guy that scoffed at $8 million and if the Packers applied the franchise tag it wouldâ€™ve cost them $9.654 million and $8.061 million if they used the transition tag. The Packers arenâ€™t going to spend that kind of cash on a guy that appeared disinterested last year â€” which happened to also be a contract year.
Raji, while only 27, will likely be paid a kingâ€™s ransom but will never live up to his 2010 season in which he had 6Â½ sacks and gave us his own rendition of twerking in the NFC Championship at Chicago.
The same goes for Shields. The Packersâ€™ 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 Shieldsâ€™ 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 wouldnâ€™t say heâ€™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 â€” 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 â€” 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 donâ€™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 arenâ€™t the dynamic players that opposing offenses build a scheme around.â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”â€”
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