Raji or Shields decision will be toughest in off-season.
With 17 players scheduled to be unrestricted free agents next month, the Green Bay Packers have plenty of decisions to make ahead of the free agency deadline.
According to an ESPN report, the biggest choice general manager Ted Thompson will have to make is if he should re-sign defensive tackle B.J.. Raji or cornerback Sam Shields to a significant contract.
Raji reportedly turned down an $8m per year offer last season, while Shields is understood to be looking for a similar deal this summer.
In Tuesday’s edition of NFL Insider, former St. Louis Rams general manager Billy Devaney offered his opinion on the situation and believes that Shields should be their priority.
“I’m sure Green Bay’s working hard trying to figure out a way to keep both of these guys, but to me, keeping the corner that has speed and can cover over a defensive tackle that is pretty much just a guy, that’s a no-brainer,” Devaney said.
“You’ve got to keep the corner.”
Since making a significant impact in the 2010 season, Raji has recorded just three sacks since which all came in 2011, while Shields is coming off his best season and is predicted to continue his development over the coming years.
Devaney also emphasised the fact that Green Bay need to address their defensive line as many on the current roster will be free agents this summer.
Meanwhile, the Packers will also have to discuss possible deals with veteran receiver James Jones, Evan Dietrich-Smith and Mike Neal who are all nearing the end of their contracts.
However, the most expensive decisions will still centre around Raji and Shields, and given Mike McCarthy’s organisation first-spending strategy, many expect the Packers to re-sign Shields if possible.