Sam Shields

The Green Bay Packers pretty much waited until the last possible minute, but they’ve started to tender their restricted free agents. Center Evan Dietrich-Smith received the low tender and cornerback Sam Shields received the second-round tender.

According to the Journal Sentinel, the Packers won’t tender tight end Tom Crabtree and linebackers Robert Francois and Frank Zombo. All three will become unrestricted free agents.

The Packers took a risk by tendering Dietrich-Smith at the lowest level. They saved money ($1.323 million for the low tender versus $2.023 million for the second-round tender), but took a chance they could lose Dietrich-Smith, who’s already been penciled in as their starting center. Although they have the right to match any offer Dietrich-Smith receives, the Packers would get no compensation if he signs elsewhere. The low tender supplies compensation in the form a draft pick in the round the player was originally drafted if he signs elsewhere, but Dietrich-Smith was undrafted, so the Packers would get nothing.

Shields, on the other hand, is a little more in line with what we predicted. The Packers will be forced to pay him $2.023 million on a one-year deal (if they don’t reach a long-term agreement), but they would get a second-round pick if he signs elsewhere. That level of compensation makes it unlikely there will be many suitors for Shields.

As for Zombo, Francois and Crabtree, the team is expected to try to re-sign them at league minimum deals.

If anything, this just goes to prove our theory of the NFL’s haves and have nots. A few big-time players make huge money and everyone else gets jack shit.