For his part, Sheppard has stayed underground, not commenting one way or the other about the addition of Samuel or the ramifications. Aside from his brief text, he refused to talk for this story. But a team source said last week that Sheppard, who signed a five-year extension in 2004, isn't happy with the developments at cornerback, even though Reid said Friday that Sheppard can play either cornerback position.
Upsetting veterans on the team by bringing in new players at higher salaries is a peril of free agency. Past performers almost always feel they are worth more money. Feelings are bound to get hurt. The trick is keeping chemistry intact.
"The players on our team know that we just don't go out and kill [team chemistry] in free agency," Reid said Friday. "That hasn't been our way. We try to [strengthen the roster] through the draft.
"But they also know that if you do have a free agent that you want to go after that's a great player or in that supposed great-player category, that you're going to have to pay him. That's the way it is. If you did your contract two years ago and he did his contract today, then it's going to be a little bit more. That's how it works. . . . So people can't be sensitive on that or you have to eliminate free agency.
"I think the players understand that. At least I think the players on our team understand that. The players on the Patriots understand that. Teams understand that. It's hard. It's a hard thing, but it's a part of the game right now that you have to face."
In 2004, Sheppard signed an extension through 2011 that reportedly included an $8.7 million signing bonus and $22 million in base salary. A few days later, Sheppard's teammate on the right side, Sheldon Brown, signed a six-year extension that reportedly included a $7.5 million signing bonus and $24 million in base salary.
Samuel, an all-pro and Pro Bowl selection who has two Super Bowl rings, was the hottest commodity - Randy Moss notwithstanding - on the free-agent market. He will make $32.14 million in the first three years of his deal with the team. That figure is more than $8 million more than defensive end Jevon Kearse made in his first three seasons with the Eagles.
Samuel's deal is worth $57.14 million.
Although it didn't seem like it, Brett Favre wasn't the only long-time NFL player to retire. Warren Sapp did, too, as did Sean Landeta, the peripatetic punter who debuted with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL in 1983 and played 22 seasons in the NFL, including five with the Eagles.
Landeta hasn't played since 2005, when he punted in five games for the Eagles, and said on Friday that, at 46 years old and after countless moves, it was time to hang it up. He now splits time between Long Island, N.Y., and Bucks County, the home of his fiancée, Donna Bretzel, whom he met "about six years ago" while playing for the Eagles.
Landeta said he empathized with Favre, who on Thursday said he decided to retire because he was "tired."
"For him to say, 'I'm just tired. I just don't want to play anymore,' I think it's great he verbalized it that way," said Landeta, who played with Favre in Green Bay in 1998. "They said, 'What do you want to do?' and he said, 'Nothing.' I think that's OK, and I can understand that. I have things I want to do, but certainly, being a punter, I didn't go through anything close to what he did in one year for physical and mental pressure, much less for 17 years."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last week sent a memo to the league's competition committee proposing that, starting next season, the league conduct unannounced inspections of locker rooms, press boxes, and in-game communication equipment, the Washington Post reported Friday.
Goodell also proposed lowering the standard of proof when it comes to imposing penalties on cheaters and making each team's principal owner, top football executive, and head coach annually vow that they complied with the rules and reported violations, according to the Post.
Reid's reaction to the proposed more stringent guidelines?
"I thought they had all that," Reid said. "I thought that was already out there. I didn't know that was something new. Seriously. I thought they had full rein. Our door is always open, so they can come down at any time."
Contact staff writer Ashley Fox at 215-854-5064 or firstname.lastname@example.org.