Shields is only 25 years old and will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season. He's currently been offered a second-round tender as a restricted free agent, which means he will count $2.023 million against the cap if he signs. However, both sides appear willing to negotiate a better deal for Shields in the present to ensure his stability with the organization for the long haul.
Shields has been missing from the Packers during OTAs so far this spring and it's clear he is not content with the current tender offer. However, he lacks any real negotiating power since the Packers are the only team with which he can negotiate.
Shields has gone from coming in as an undrafted free agent to the Packers' fastest defender in the secondary. He also offers a solid cover corner on the outside for Green Bay, so his value to the organization is clear.
Jason Hirschhorn of Acme Packing Company writes that the Packers need to strike now before the cornerback can walk after this season:
In order for the Packers to lock Shields up for a long term deal, he cannot sign his RFA tender. Under the CBA, contracts signed or altered within the last 12 months cannot be renegotiated. Signing the tender is the equivalent of signing a one-year deal. In other words, if Shields signs his tender, the Packers won't get another chance to sign Shields to a long term deal until he's an unrestricted free agent. If Shields were to reach unrestricted free agency, all of Green Bay's leverage is gone. At that juncture, Shields will likely depart for a bigger contract.
Shields had 28 tackles and 3 interceptions in 10 regular season games last year for the Packers. He has 9 career interceptions.