On Thursday both Westbrook and Sheppard arrived at Eagles training camp. Was that the smart decision for each player?
I would say yes for Sheppard and no for Westbrook.
In 2007 Westbrook had 2104 total yards and 12 touchdowns. Westbrook was a Pro Bowler and a 1st team All Pro selection.
These stats should provide Westbrook with all of the leverage that he needs to renegotiate his current deal with the Eagles. His leverage will never be higher. I applaud Westbrook for putting the team first and putting faith in his new agent to get a new deal worked out. But what happens if Westbrook suffers an injury during training camp? There goes that leverage. Any chance of a new contract would be gone.
Westbrook should have made the Eagles sweat a bit. Force them to up their current offer to a level that matches Westbrook's productivity. The Eagles aren't dumb enough to go into a season without their MVP, their top play maker. Are they?
The Eagles should not be given the opportunity to take advantage of Westbrook's strong character. They know that Westbrook will not carry his contract happiness onto the field. The Eagles shouldn't be allowed to get another season out of Westbrook on a contract that he has outplayed.
Unfortunately Sheppard lacks the same leverage to force the Eagles into a new contract. Yes he might be a bit underpaid for a cornerback with his skill set. But Sheppard has had difficulty staying healthy. Hey, maybe Sheppard should look as his pay on a per game played basis and not the overall dollar amount!
Sheppard needs to prove to the Eagles (and to any possible new employers) that he is still an elite cornerback and can beat the injury bug. Showing up at camp allows him to begin doing that. And in the event of an injury to Samuel or Brown, Sheppard steps back into a starting role. Being a starter then gives Sheppard leverage for a new deal. (Just look what happened today. Samuel suffers a hamstring injury, Sheppard is back to being the starting left cornerback.)
(Plus if Sheppard never reported we would of never learned of the new word "disappreciation." Goes nicely with Roger Clemons' "misremembered.")
And Andrews would also be smart to show-up at camp. Save any hold out for next year when your base salary is only $750,00. We will need some drama next year too!