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Packers' Sam Shields to hit the open market

In a division where covering Pro Bowl receivers is paramount, the Green Bay Packers will watch cornerback Sam Shields hit the open market.

The team will not get a deal done with Shields by March 8 -- the date other teams can contact agents for players set to become free agents on March 11 -- and the 26-year-old corner will test free agency, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday. ProFootballTalk first reported the news. 

The report seems to intimate that the Packers won't use the franchise tag on Shields, either -- which isn't a surprise given the $11.834 tag number for cornerbacks.

Shields' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, met with the Packers at the NFL Scouting Combine, but the sides couldn't come to an agreement, and it sounds like talks have broken off until the corner market is set.

The Packers were offering Shields less than $6 million annually, per Rapoport.

It's not the least bit shocking to hear Shields will test the market. The No. 22 overall player in Around The League's 101 free agent list is coming off the best season of his career. The speedy cornerback compiled four interceptions and 51 tackles in 14 starts.

While Shields is a solid player, the Packers do have quality depth at cornerback and might not be willing to offer what the fifth-year player is seeking -- at least not yet.

Undrafted out of Miami, Shields played on a $2.023 million restricted free-agent tender last season and is looking for his first big payday.

There is a plethora of quality corners who soon will hit the free-agent market, so Shields could end up back in Green Bay, for the right price. After all, they still have to contend with the likes of Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Cordarrelle Patterson next season.

The latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast" works through our top 101 free agents and responds to some heat from Donte Whitner.

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