Sheppard Coming Home?

Lito Sheppard (Miles Kennedy/AP)

The Philadelphia Daily News has reported that the Jaguars have been in talks with Lito Sheppard's agent, Lamont Smith, about a new contract which would include a package of 2009 draft picks for the talented cornerback. JagNation has more information about the possible deal, and the likelihood of Sheppard becoming a Jaguar prior to the end of the weekend.

The Jaguars already boast one of the best secondaries in football, as they have former Pro Bowler Rashean Mathis, last year's starting corner Brian Williams (who outplayed Mathis in 2007), and free agent acquisition Drayton Florence, to go along with first-round pick (2007) Reggie Nelson and Gerald Sensabaugh at the safety positions. With the three corners alone, Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver has nearly $35 million invested in signing bonuses, and for a small market team that has historically struggled with ticket sales, it wouldn't make fiscal sense that Weaver opens up his checkbook to stroke another eight-figure sum to a player that plays the same position as the three talented veterans.

JagNation asked NFL Expert and Sirius NFL Radio host, Adam Caplan about his thoughts on a possible deal, being that he has a fantastic relationship with the Philadelphia Eagles organization.

"His (Sheppard's) agent was given permission to seek a trade, but Jacksonville doesn't make much sense... they have three veteran CBs (both starters are signed through 2011)," said the NFL expert.

"The Eagles are supposed to meet with Sheppard soon (he's not supposed to be reporting for OTAs) to let him know they likely won't be trading him this season."

The Jacksonville native, Sheppard, is a former Pro Bowler who actually received a contract extension following his rookie deal in 2004, which included an $8.7 million signing bonus. With the Eagles giving a king's ransom to free agent corner Asante Samuel back in March, which will pay him better than $32 million over the next three seasons, Sheppard is pining for a new deal which will put him on par with what his defensive backfield mate is getting. Andy Reid talked about the status of his disgruntled corner--

"As I sit here right now, Lito is an Eagle. That's how it is, just like every other guy on this football team."

The Eagles are similar to the Jaguars, in the fact that they each have three solid corners, with Asante Samuel, Lito Sheppard, and Sheldon Brown, and although it's somewhat of a wealth of riches, with most offenses going to three wide receiver sets, the third corner position (nickel) is becoming more and more considered an actual starter, and thus a necessity. "It gives us one great opportunity for a nice secondary," said Eagles head coach Andy Reid. "The way to use him is just like we used [former Eagles cornerbacks] Bobby Taylor, Al Harris and Troy Vincent. We just rotated all of them and they were all starters in our eyes."

A deal for the former Gator would likely signal the move of Jaguars cornerback Brian Williams to strong safety, where he would be somewhat undersized at just 198 lbs. Although much of the Jaguars offseason has been dedicated to fixing their pass defense, which finished 2007 ranked 15th in the league, the acquisition of Sheppard, who missed five games last season due to injury, would likely cost the team some valuable compensation, and more importantly too much money.


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