2014 NFL Free Agency: The Latest on Sam Shields, Ryan Mallett and More


Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields (37) throws the ball into the stands after an interception in the fourth quarter against Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin (19) at AT&T Stadium. The Packers beat the Cowboys 37-36. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

During the free agency period, the Pewter Plank will do our best to bring you the latest buzz from around the NFL and let you know how it will impact the Buccaneers this offseason.

The free agency “legal tampering period” has only just begun, but there’s already been plenty of news to discuss around the league. Here are just a few of the headlines we’ve been following.

Sam Shields Re-Signs With Green Bay

The Green Bay Packers agreed to a new deal with Sam Shields on Saturday evening, and it didn’t come cheap for the Cheeseheads.

That’s quite a hefty chunk of change for Shields, who is a pretty good corner but certainly not an elite player at his position. Which further proves my point about Darrelle Revis and his status with the Buccaneers.

As I stated when Revis trade rumors were at their peak, the changes to the salary cap will eventually make Revis’ deal seem more reasonable compared to other top corners. Sam Shields setting the market standard at $10 million per season certainly brings my opinion closer to reality much sooner than I would have expected.

With numerous other top corners available this spring, don’t be shocked to see other double-digit million dollar contracts being handed out to non-elite corners. And considering how much better Darrelle Revis is than these other players receiving substantial paydays, you can see why the Buccaneers would be wise to keep Revis around, even if his contract seems inflated at first glance.

Ryan Mallett to Houston?

Matt Miller of Bleacher Report says that he’s learned the Houston Texans are pursuing Ryan Mallett to run their offense, and that they would then pass on a quarterback with the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. This would obviously shake up the top of the draft, which impacts the Buccaneers, who hold the seventh pick.

If the Texans pass on a quarterback, that would mean the Jaguars, Browns and Raiders would remain as the only “QB Needy” teams ahead of the Buccaneers in the draft order. And while many see it as a foregone conclusion for all of them to take a signal caller, I believe the Jaguars will look to build their defense, while the Raiders may add a veteran like Josh Freeman or Matt Schaub rather than using a draft pick on a QB.

Regardless, the Texans taking a non-QB changes the landscape of the top-7 picks, and means it’s more likely that the Buccaneers will have a first-round QB on the board when they select in the first round.

That means the Bucs’ pick is more valuable for possible trades, and it also means they’ll have the option to take a quarterback if they believe he represents an upgrade over Mike Glennon. It’s truly a win/win situation for the Buccaneers to have either Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater or Johnny Manziel on the board when they are on the clock.

…And More.

  • Red Bryant moves from Seattle to Jacksonville on a four-year deal. It’s a fair price for a solid contributor on the defensive line, which offers hope for the Buccaneers, who need to add linemen this offseason.
  • The Buccaneers’ name hasn’t come up yet in discussions about defensive end Michael Johnson, but they should give his agent a call, as he’s an impact pass rusher.
  • Defensive end Everson Griffen, a former Leslie Frazier player, will be on the open market, but ESPN’s Adam Caplan implies there may be questions about his durability.
  • The Bears will look to do what the Buccaneers failed to do two years running by uniting the Bennett brothers on the same roster. They already have Martellus, and are in discussions with Michael, according to a report.