The release of star cornerback Richard Sherman was made official by the Seattle Seahawks Friday morning, signaling the end of an area in the Pacific Northwest.
Releasing Sherman creates $11 million in cap space for Seattle, but the door is open for Sherman to still potentially return at a lower rate. Sherman told Gee Scott of 97.3 KIRO-FM in Seattle that he appreciates the Seahawks allowing him to test the free agent mark, as he also understands that the organization is trying to set out things fianically with it’s roster right now:
“We’ve had conversations and they’ve told me that they’re going to allow me to go into free agency.
“But they want me to understand that the door’s open for me to return. They’re just trying to do what they need to do to clear up space and give me and them the best chance at free agency, and I’ve got to appreciate and respect that.”
On Wednesday, it was reported that Sherman was on the way out in Seattle, and had started to tell his teammates goodbye. That same day, defensive end Michael Bennett was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles, and news also latter hit the public stratosphere that cornerback Jeremy Lane would also be handed his walking papers. Lane’s release also became officially today as well.
In free agency, Sherman is said to be seeking a contending team that he would fit and feel comfortable on. A ‘great’ quarterback is also among Sherman’s preference, as he told to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Here’s a handful of teams that fit that profile:
- New England Patriots – Tom Brady is one of the best in the business, and New England has been known to scoop up elite-level cornerbacks in free agency, as Darrelle Revis is one major example. The Patriots were also talking to the Denver Broncos about cornerback Aqib Talib before Talib was dealt to the Los Angeles Rams. The obvious departure of Malcolm Butler from the Patriots could also play a factor here.
- San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers have a boatload of cap space available to upgrade their roster, and cornerback is one position that needs some addressing. While Ahkello Witherspoon has a promising profile, what’s missing is a top-shelf cornerback. Who better than Sherman, who the 49ers were able to watch up closely for 7 seasons? San Francisco also made a run at Talib in trade talks.
- Kansas City Chiefs – Kansas City has already let Revis go this off-season, and Marcus Peters has been traded to the Rams. While they added Kendall Fuller into the mix with the Alex Smith trade, depth is still needed at this position. Financial restrictions could get in the way of pursing Sherman, but it’s still entirely possible they decide to take a look at him.
- Green Bay Packers – Sherman is seeking an elite quarterback, and it probably won’t get better than Aaron Rodgers for years to come. The Packers saw good glimpses from Kevin King in his rookie season, but the Packers secondary and defense as a whole is missing playmakers. Sherman can be just that guy, and after trading away Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns, indications are the Packers have some type of plan to supplement the cornerback group.
- Oakland Raiders – Oakland gives Sherman the chance to stay out West, while also getting the chance to play with a great quarterback in Derek Carr. New Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is out to revamp the secondary in 2018, as David Amerson has been let go already, with many speculating that Sean Smith could be next. Gruden could look to pair Sherman with promising rookie Gareon Conley in an effort to peak more interest in the Raiders, and put a better product on the football field.
The point is, many teams will be interested in Sherman, and Seattle may simply not be to match some of the offers Sherman could potentially receive in free agency. That’s why even though the door is open for a return, the goodbyes today felt more permanent than anything.
In Seattle, Sherman’s rise to stardom become very prevalent, as he was widely regarded as one of the best corners in the league. He led the NFL in interceptions in 2013 with 8, and 2013 was perhaps the best year of Sherman’s career in Seattle and the best season in franchise history for the Seahawks. They ended up dismantling the Broncos in the Super Bowl that year, and the ‘Legion of Boom’ nicknamed that was dubbed for the amazing Seattle defense only become more popular as the years went on.
The 29-year-old Sherman, who will turn 30 this month, finishes his Seahawks career with 286 tackles, 104 pass deflections, and 32 interceptions. Since he entered the league in 2011, no other cornerback has allowed a lower passer rating in coverage, and no other cornerback has more interceptions.
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