“Hello, police? This is the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, I’d like to report a robbery. The New York Jets just ran off with our cornerback! What do you mean, ‘How do I know?’ They left a late-round draft pick in his place. Please! Come quickly!”
In a day that will go down in infamy, the New York Jets have completed terms to a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire the services of two-time Pro Bowl CB Lito Sheppard.
Sheppard had fallen out of favor with the Eagles in recent years. The acquisition of Asante Samuel and the emergence of Sheldon Brown combined to force Sheppard back on the depth chart. It also helped provide an insanely low asking price for a former first round pick.
Sheppard was selected 26th-overall in 2002—four picks after Bryan Thomas—and is now expected to start opposite Darrelle Revis. He provides an immediate upgrade at the position, and comes at an unfairly low risk for the Jets.
Compensation for the trade is being reported as a fifth round draft pick in 2009, and a conditional draft pick in 2010. The trade may also require a new contract for Sheppard, who had been vocal about wanting an extension or a release in Philadelphia.
None of the free agent corners that are available provide the same kind of value as Sheppard. With options like Leigh Bodden roaming the market, the trade for a former Pro Bowl player was definitely the best option.
DeAngelo Hall and Domonique Foxworth received large contracts from the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens, respectively.Those contracts may be the starting negotiation point for Sheppard.
Bringing in an experienced veteran who has excelled at his position instantly gives the Jets room for comfort in the secondary. It’s an area that needed to be addressed, and was a concern heading into the offseason.
Trading for Sheppard does create some question marks around Dwight Lowery. After a solid start to his rookie campaign, Lowery found himself on the negative end of “upgrade” conversations.
Signing Ty Law placed Lowery on the bench, with Sheppard coming to town it looks like he won’t have an opportunity to start again. In fact, Lowery’s role will be significantly reduced with Corey Ivy expected to sign with the Jets as well.
With Jim Leonhard expected to be the favorite for the safety position opposite Kerry Rhodes and Abram Elam signed on for $1.1M as a restricted free agent, Lowery may not even have an opportunity to rotate in the game.