Deal or No Deal?

Last season the Bills were active on the trade front, dealing Willis McGahee to Baltimore and Takeo Spikes to Philadelphia. With the No. 11 pick as ammo, will the Bills look to land a veteran themselves this year?

The Buffalo Bills already acquired a two-star cornerback from the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason in William James. Is a four-star Eagles corner on the way?

Probably not, but strange things happen on draft day.

The Minnesota Vikings are late getting their first round draft pick in…green-room quarterbacks are forced to wait, wait, wait and wait with dumbfounded embarrassment into camera…and Mel Kiper Jr.'s gelled locks never come untangled through all those in-your-face highlights.

If the picks domino-fall just right, the Bills may become a player.

Lito Sheppard's unhappiness with the Philadelphia Eagles has become the biggest mainstream trade rumor this side of Pacman Jones, without the stripper side drama. One league source says that the Eagles have offered Sheppard to at least one team for a first round draft choice.

If the Bills were a team on the brink of Super Bowl contention, swapping the 11th overall pick for a six-year veteran would be plausible. But they're not. Buffalo is one of the youngest teams in the NFL, not a powerhouse that's only a couple veterans away from greatness. Not a team that should be making a pick-for-player trade.

Expect Buffalo to stay put at No. 11 and see which cornerbacks trickle past New England, Baltimore and New Orleans. If Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie and Leodis McKelvin are gone, maybe (just maybe), Buffalo will consider dealing its pick to Philadelphia for Sheppard. Mike Jenkins is a bit of a reach at that spot, and it's difficult to tell if the Bills are sold on anyone in a shaky wide receiver crop. So the temptation will certainly strike a chord through the Bills' war room.

Plus, Buffalo isn't satisfied with its cornerback situation.

Terrence McGee may be the NFL's single-biggest weapon in the return game, but at corner he is slightly above average. Jabari Greer, William James and Ashton Youboty are fringe starters...at best. Hence, the Bills' visit with McKelvin. Buffalo is obviously unsettled at the position, with good reason. While Donte Whitner and Ko Simpson appear to be a promising tandem at safety, there aren't any up-and-comers at cornerback – a position in constant flux in the NFL. It's hard to find, sign, and maintain shutdown corners.

But this draft is full of them.

Even if the Bills bypass DRC, McKelvin, Jenkins and Aqib Talib in the first round, Oklahoma's Reggie Smith, Virginia Tech's Brandon Flowers or Arizona's Antoine Cason would make solid second-round selections. Any draft pick would probably be cheaper than Sheppard, who may feel slighted by the contract Philadelphia dished to Asante Samuel (five years, $57.14 million). Sheppard is under contract until 2011, but he may aim to renegotiate his five-year, $25 million deal. Uneasy territory.

Darwin Walker Part II, anyone?

In six seasons, Sheppard has 66 pass breakups, 17 interceptions and two Pro Bowl bids. His talent merits sizeable compensation in a trade. But keep in mind, Sheppard has missed 14 games over the past three seasons and turns 27 years old in a week. Buffalo already risked the injury/age mix by landing Marcus Stroud. Its young defense shouldn't be tampered with too many veteran additions.

Sheppard is worthy of a first round pick.

But in a Marv Levy remix: Not here. Not now.

Tyler Dunne is the Publisher of the Buffalo Football Report. Contact him at thdunne@gmail.com.


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