|Eagles weigh options for Sheppard|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 15 April 2008 14:36|
Lito Sheppard became available to the highest bidder once the Eagles signed Asante Samuel to a $57.14 million, six-year contract on the first day of the NFL free agency in March.
Sheppard isn't happy with his contract - he's signed through 2011 - and the Eagles don't have much patience with players who want new deals. Terrell Owens didn't quite get his way when he started grumbling in 2005. Sheppard hasn't expressed his unhappiness publicly or as loudly as T.O. did, but it's likely he'll be gone before next weekend's draft ends.
For now, the Eagles are waiting for the best offer.
``You don't see many 27-year-old Pro Bowl players who there is even a possibility of acquiring,'' team president Joe Banner said Tuesday. ``If you look at the history of player trades, you'll see a very short list of players that age, that caliber of player, that kind of character.
``There is significant interest, but the reason there is interest is because he's a good player, which is a compelling reason, also, to keep him. We'll just have to weigh the options of keeping him or whatever else is available, and in the end Andy (Reid) will make a decision as to which he thinks is better.''
A first-round pick in 2002, Sheppard and Sheldon Brown replaced veteran cornerbacks Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor following the 2003 season. Sheppard was an All-Pro in '04, helping the Eagles reach the Super Bowl.
Sheppard has a knack for making big plays, but he's also had trouble staying on the field. He missed six games in 2005 with a badly sprained ankle that required surgery, sat out three games in 2006 with another ankle injury, and didn't play in a playoff loss to New Orleans that season after hurting his elbow. Sheppard was sidelined four games last year after injuring his knee in the opener, and also sat out the season finale.
``There is interest in him and we'll just have to make a determination as to whether the best thing for the team is to move him or bring him back,'' Banner said. ``Obviously, to this point, we've decided the best thing to do is keep him.''
Sheppard has 17 career interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns. The Eagles' asking price for Sheppard could be a player - possibly a top wide receiver - or draft picks. The Falcons got second-round and fifth-round picks for DeAngelo Hall, a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback who is two years younger than Sheppard.