Remember when the New York Jets traded Jonathan Vilma to the New Orleans Saints, and everyone expected a 2009 draft pick as the conditional compensation for his services?
And then remember when everyone found out that the condition was contingent upon Vilma working out a new contract with New Orleans before free agency?
That really sucked.
Now it looks like Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum pulled a similar move on the Philadelphia Eagles when he acquired the rights to Lito Sheppard.
Rich Cimini’s report on the trade from the New York Daily News shines some light on the value of Sheppard’s new contract.
The Jets sweetened Sheppard’s contract, giving him a four-year, $27.2 million extension through 2013. It kicks in next year, when he receives a $10 million signing bonus in March.
Not a very impressive tidbit alone, I know. But the extra details from kffl.com expose the silver lining that could help the Jets keep their 2010 draft pick.
…the deal will only kick in if the Jets decide to pay a $10 million option bonus in March 2010… If Sheppard misses considerable time during the season, they would only have to trade a fifth-round draft choice to the Philadelphia Eagles. The conditional 2010 draft choice will be a second-round draft choice if Sheppard plays 85 percent of the season and receives the four-year extension.
Assuming the reports are accurate, this means Tannenbaum effectively pulled a New Orleans on the Eagles.
They only get the conditional pick if the Jets pay the $10 million bonus next March.
Brandon Moore is laughing somewhere. There’s no way Tannenbaum pays that money to the second cornerback—even if he eclipses his six-interception career high.
If I’m interpreting this properly, Sheppard’s time in New York is basically a one-year tryout.
If his career is rejuvenated with the Jets and he returns to All-Pro form, that still wouldn’t satisfy the terms Tannenbaum worked out with Philly to bring him here. Playing 85-percent of the snaps is only half the battle.
Despite all the talk about Sheppard losing his job and falling to fourth on the Eagles’ depth chart, the trade still works out in the Jets’ favor.
Looking to free agency was only going to turn out overpriced names. With guys like DeAngelo Hall and Domonique Foxworth getting big money, even less talented players like Leigh Bodden were going to overvalue their worth.
Finding a CB to play opposite Revis was a priority, but overpaying was out of the question.
If it turns out that Philly was right and Sheppard became an injury-prone scrub who belongs in dime packages only, then he won’t receive 85-percent of the snaps anyway.
Regardless, the risk for making the trade is really no risk at all.
If he works out, it’s not like he’s being asked to come to the Jets and be the top CB. He won’t be lined up against primary receivers, smart quarterbacks are still afraid of Revis, and Sheppard’s fast enough to not get burned.
What’s not to like?