Eagles need to lock up Taylor and Vincent

<b>Most Teams would love to be in the position the Philadelphia Eagles find themselves in heading into training camp; specifically, their current logjam at cornerback. With Pro-bowlers Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor in the last years of contracts, the front office is in no hurry to sign them to long-term deals. Instead, Andy Reid and company would like to evaluate the progress of second year players Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown through training camp to see what they are capable of.</b>

As talented as these two youngsters are, it would be impossible to imagine the Philadelphia secondary without their two shut down corners of Vincent and Taylor. Most don't realize that Jim Johnson's all out blitz packages are only made possible by the superb downfield coverage provided not only by their corners but also by their two immensely talented and very physical safeties, Brian Dawkins and Michael Lewis.

With Dawkins landing a seven-year contract extension in the off-season and Lewis being just a second year man out of Colorado, the Philadelphia Eagles have a chance to maintain the high level of defensive dominance that the fans have been so accustom to. To do that, the Eagles may have to break with tradition and use some of the cap space they currently have and pay these 2 corners what they deserve, for they have been the heart and soul of the Philadelphia secondary for so long.

Yes, Sheppard and Brown are the future corners in the Philly secondary but clearly, they are not Vincent and Taylor. Not yet anyway. The Eagles cannot continue the trend of allowing big name free agents to leave this franchise. It would be unfortunate for fans Eagles fans to witness another talented Eagles defense lose the very players that have defined that defensive dominance after seeing Buddy Ryan's bunch ravaged by free agency. After the firing of Buddy Ryan, the 46 Defense lost the meat of that defense with the departure of Reggie White, Clyde Simmons, Seth Joyner, Andre Waters, and eventually Eric Allen as well as William Thomas.

Fast-forward to today, with Jim Johnson's current defense having already lost Jeremiah Trotter, Hugh Douglas, and Shawn Barber in the past two off-seasons, and with the looming possibility of losing Vincent, Taylor, and Carlos Emmons after this season when there clearly is still cap space would be inexcusable.

If somehow that happens, you cannot blame anyone other than Andy Reid and Joe Banner. Having a healthy salary cap is impressive, but it hasn't won any Super Bowls. Ask the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when pursuing the Lombardi trophy what is more important between having a great defense that returns most of their starters, or having cap space? If you don't believe them, they have the Lombardi Trophy to prove it.


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