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Sam Shields, Packers strike four-year, $39M contract

Former Green Bay Packers executive Andrew Brandt is fond of saying that "deadlines spur action."

That appears to be the case with the Packers and cornerback Sam Shields. At an impasse last week, Shields was prepared to test the open market.

With free agency just days away, the Packers agreed to re-sign Shields to a new contract, agent Drew Rosenhaus revealed Saturday. The team announced the move the following Monday.

A person who has seen the contract tells NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport the deal is worth $39 million over four years. NFL Media's Albert Breer adds that Shields received a $12.5 million signing bonus and will collect $21 million over the first two years of the pact.

ProFootballTalk first reported the new contract.

The Packers increased their offer considerably, as Rapoport previously reported the team was offering just $6 million annually.

Shields' contract is a sign that free agents -- particularly at cornerback -- are entering a healthier market than last offseason, now that the salary cap has been increased to $133 million.

Ranked No. 20 on Around The League's list of the top 101 free agents, Shields offers sub-4.40 speed and demonstrated the ability to lock down top receivers such as A.J. Green and Josh Gordon.

Count Seattle Seahawks star Richard Sherman among those who approve of the deal.

With Shields locked up and Casey Hayward returning from injury, the Packers are deep at cornerback. It will be interesting to see if they move impressive 2013 fifth-round draft pick Micah Hyde to safety.

Now that Shields has passed Tramon Williams as the highest-paid player in the Packers' secondary, hotly pursued Tennessee Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner should have his sights set on a new contract worth more than $10 million annually.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" picks the biggest free agent bargains and plays the revolutionary game: "Get my lunch."

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