How realistic is a Sheppard deal?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have missed out on Jared Allen, but there are other players out there that could be had via trade on draft day. Lito Sheppard is rumored to be on Tampa Bay's radar. Bucsblitz.com's got expert analysis on a Sheppard deal from Scout.com's Adam Caplan, plus his take on three other potential trade possibilities as the draft approaches.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may have missed the boat on defensive end Jared Allen. But trade talks are starting to percolate all over the NFL as the Draft approaches on Saturday.

That isn't unusual. But will the Buccaneers get involved? That's the question as the draft approaches.

In March Bucsblitz.com explored the possibility of a trade between the Bucs and four players that our Scout.com Senior NFL reporter, Adam Caplan, thought could be had for the right price. Two of those players — Miami defensive end Jason Taylor and Philadelphia cornerback Lito Sheppard — can still be had.

Sheppard has been on the block for more than a month, but Taylor only "officially" hit the market on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, disgruntled wide receiver Chad Johnson of Cincinnati, and Arizona's Anquan Boldin, are both requesting trades. Both are represented by agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Bucs GM Bruce Allen has always said the team will pull the trigger on a trade if they feel it will add talent to their roster. All four players fill primary or secondary needs on their football team, and some fans have openly contemplated all four players coming to Tampa Bay on Bucsblitz.com's message boards.

But what would it take to get them to Tampa Bay, and would the Bucs pull the trigger? Bucsblitz.com went back to Caplan, who is as well connected in the NFL as any reporter, to find out.

Caplan considers Sheppard an upgrade over current starting cornerback Phillip Buchanon. The Eagles have tried to move Sheppard for weeks now, but with few takers. A month ago, Caplan said the Eagles would move him for a second-round pick.

Now the Bucs seem to be in the market for Sheppard. Rumors are swirling that the Bucs and Eagles are talking and that two picks — including the Bucs' second rounder — could be what it takes to pry Sheppard away. There are also rumors that Sheppard visited Tampa on Wednesday.

This is a deal Caplan has liked all along and believes there's a good chance it could happen.

"The guess on Sheppard would be better than 50-50 they get him," Caplan said. "Tampa Bay needs a younger cornerback with good ball skills like Sheppard and Ronde Barber probably has about two good years left. With Sheppard in the fold, Eugene Wilson could play at safety where he could provide more of an impact."

Caplan said more than a month ago that Taylor, even though he's in his mid-30s, was "still an outstanding pass rusher" and "could give the Bucs a short-term boost in their pass rush." Taylor has two years left on a deal that pays him approximately $15.5 million in base salary. The Bucs have $30 million in cap space left in 2008.

With just hours remaining before the draft, Caplan's mind hasn't changed on Taylor and his 117 career sacks.

"Tampa Bay is in need of another good pass rusher," Caplan said. "Miami wants a first-round pick but a second rounder plus an additional pick could probably get it done."

Would the Bucs spend that second-rounder on Sheppard or Taylor? Both could fill needs and free up that first-round pick for a wide receiver. But that remains to be seen.

As for the wide receivers, Caplan noted earlier this week that the Bengals wouldn't consider moving Johnson for anything less than a Top-10 pick, and that takes the Bucs out of the mix. As for Boldin, Caplan believes the Cardinals don't want to move him. But, if they have to, he thinks it will take a first-round pick.

"Boldin is a nice player, but he may not be worth a first-round pick," Caplan said.




Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for BucsBlitz.com and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. An award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers Association, he appears frequently on Scot Brantley Show from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WHBO 1470-AM in Tampa-Clearwater.


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