The Green Bay Packers did not use the franchise tag or transition tag Monday, which was the deadline for NFL teams to do so as a way of keeping their own free agents.
There's still a week left for the Packers to negotiate exclusively with their own players before they hit the open market Monday, but as ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Saturday, the team is unlikely to come to an agreement before then with perhaps their most coveted free agent, cornerback Sam Shields.
As recently as last week, the Packers were still in negotiations with Shields' agent, Drew Rosenhaus, about a long-term deal, but the two sides were far apart.
Although the Packers have more than $30 million in salary-cap space, general manager Ted Thompson clearly did not want to be in a position of having to use more than $11 million of it on one player.
The franchise tag for a cornerback would have been $11.834 million, while the transition tag would have been $10.081 million. There were no cornerbacks among the six players tagged (four with the franchise designation and two with the transition).
It's unknown exactly what Shields is seeking, but the deal signed Monday by Miami Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes could help determine Shields' value. Grimes signed a four-year, $32 million deal that included $16 million in guaranteed money.
Shields, who emerged last season as the Packers' top cover corner, entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent and received only a $7,500 signing bonus. He played last season for the restricted free-agent tender of $2.023 million.
Including Shields, the Packers have 17 players who would be eligible for unrestricted free agency beginning March 11. Teams can begin negotiating with other team's free agents Saturday, but no deals can be signed for three days.