Sam Shields

The Green Bay Packers have been working to get cornerback Sam Shields re-signed. Negotiations were reportedly heating up last week.

Now, there’s a report that Shields plans to test the market.

Per a league source, Shields won’t sign with the Packers before March 8, the day on which other teams may contact the agents for players due to become free agents on March 11.

The four-year veteran will test the market before making a decision on his next NFL contract.

That could be bad news for the Packers, although Shields is considered only the fourth-best free agent cornerback in most rankings.

Miami’s Brent Grimes, New England’s Aqib Talib, Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner and possibly Indianapolis’ Vontae Davis all appear to be more coveted than Shields.

That doesn’t mean Shields won’t draw interest, though. And if we know anything about free agency, it’s that teams tend to throw a lot of money at cornerbacks.

Shields was reportedly seeking a little over $5 million per season from the Packers. Why they wouldn’t give him that much is beyond us.

Someone surely will be willing to pay that in free agency. If the Packers are taking a hard-line approach to this negotiation, which now seems fairly likely, it just might cost them.

By saying he won’t sign before free agency begins, Shields now has all the leverage. The only way the Packers get it back is if there’s a really poor market for cornerbacks.