Jets cut CB Sheppard after one season, before $10M bonus is due

NEW YORK -- The Jets released cornerback Lito Sheppard on Thursday after one disappointing and injury-plagued season.

The move was expected since Sheppard was due a $10 million roster bonus.

Sheppard was acquired last offseason in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to play opposite Darrelle Revis in the Jets' secondary, but he started just nine games because of quadriceps injuries and inconsistent play. Sheppard ended up costing the Jets a fourth-round pick in this year's draft.

The clearest sign that Sheppard's time with the Jets was done was when he was benched in favor of second-year cornerback Dwight Lowery during the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts.

A former first-round pick of the Eagles in 2002, Sheppard had 31 tackles, one interception and eight passes defensed in 11 regular-season games with the Jets.

With Sheppard gone, the Jets are expected to target a cornerback through a trade or with the 29th overall pick in the draft next month.

Sheppard is the second big-name player to be released by the Jets this offseason. The team announced earlier in the week that it would cut ties with running back Thomas Jones when the NFL's free-agency period starts Friday. Jones, who ran for a career-high 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns, was due a $3 million roster bonus on top of a $2.8 million base salary.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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