On Thursday, Mordecai did a piece on the Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman being on the trading block. I agree with most everything he says: Sherman slipped a little last year without safety Earl Thomas on the field, he takes cheap shots, he’s a jerk, he’d cost a lot and Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson would never go for such a deal.
Here’s why I think Green Bay should pursue the Seahawk great anyway: Richard Sherman has burned his bridges in Seattle. The team is motivated to part ways – making it likely that the Seahawks would entertain any reasonable offer.
As we reported earlier, there have been rumors all spring that Sherman might be available. It became more than a rumor, however, when Seahawks general manager John Schneider openly shopped Sherman at the annual NFL owners meeting about 10 days ago in Phoenix.
Instead of putting the trade talk to bed, Schneider went on an ESPN Radio show on March 29 declaring that Seattle’s interest in trading Sherman “is real.” The very next day, Sherman was on a local radio show in Seattle, where he said “I wouldn’t want to leave this city and my guys, but I understand it’s a business and organizational philosophies change.”
Imagine Ted Thompson telling the public and the rest of the league’s general managers that Jordy Nelson is on the trading block. That’s about what Schneider did a week ago. You don’t say such things if you don’t mean them.
Richard Sherman is the personification of the Seahawks, the face of that brash and talented defense. He’s only 29 and he’s coming off of being named to his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl. This trade talk, however, has little to do with his performance as a cornerback.
Why are the Seahawks so hot to get rid of their all-star cornerback? Sherman has always been a loudmouth, an in-your-face type of guy. Last year though, he crossed a line, when he had two very public confrontations with team coaches and players – including the head coach.
Seahawks vs. Falcons – October 16
When Julio Jones scored on a 36-yard pass in the third quarter, there appeared to be miscommunication by the Seahawks’ defense. Sherman went ballistic on the sideline, slamming his helmet down and screaming at teammates and defensive coordinator Kris Richard. The team formed a circle around him, jumping up and down and, inexplicably, cheering. Sherman remained angry, however, and continued to have a conversation with coach Pete Carroll as play resumed.
Despite the loss of momentum that ensued after Sherman’s tantrum, Seattle came back to notch a 26-24 comeback win. Sherman was still upset after the game, saying, “It’s just a shame to give up two bogus touchdowns.”
Seahawks vs. Rams – December 15
During this mid-December Thursday night game before a national audience, with a first down on the 1-yard line, quarterback Russell Wilson threw a near interception – shades of Seattle’s last-minute Super Bowl loss to the Patriots. When the Seahawks still scored, via a 1-yard pass no less, Sherman challenged coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on the play calling. Teammates and coaches had to step in to end the shouting match.
Sherman later explained to the media:
“I don’t like it when we throw the ball at the 1… and I wasn’t going to let them continue to do that… I was making sure [head coach Pete Carroll] knew that we’re not comfortable with you throwing the ball at the 1.”
The day following the game, Carroll and Sherman spent an hour going over the matter, with Carroll relaying:
“We made it through it. He knows that wasn’t right. He’s just so fiery and we’ve seen him before. He’ll speak for himself on that. But I feel very good about where he is right now. We’re going to be all right.”
Sherman is not big on making apologies. Asked whether he was confident there wouldn’t be another Sherman blow-up, Carroll said, “No. I wouldn’t say confident. I don’t know.”
Sherman in Green Bay?
Yes, dealing for Sherman would go against all of Ted Thompson’s historical body of work. Sherman’s salary for the next two years is right around $10 million per year and his cap hit is greater than $13 million each year.
On April 6 a reporter for the Miami Herald claimed a source said the Seahawks would only trade him if they receive “a very good player plus a high draft pick.” I’d take that with a grain of salt, but this is a perennial All-Pro and Pro Bowl player who happens to play the position that kept Green Bay out of the Super Bowl just three months ago.
The fact that Seattle has gone to the extent it has to tell the league Sherman is available speaks volumes. If the Packers were to offer their first-round pick and a round five or six pick, they’d get Seattle’s attention. If Green Bay doesn’t want to spend the money, one answer to that would be letting go of Clay Matthews, who has a higher salary and cap hit.
I’m okay with the Packers seeing who’s available when they get to pick in the first round of the draft. Maybe an exceptional cornerback will have slipped through the cracks. Maybe they can move up in the draft to get one of the top two or three cornerbacks, who could immediately be inserted into the starting lineup.
Without adding a ready-to-play cornerback to the team, who out there thinks the Packers can go further than they went in 2016?
Unless Thompson and the Packers pull a rabbit out of the hat on day one of the draft, it’s time for CEO Mark Murphy, with the endorsements of coach Mike McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers, to instruct Thompson to employ the nuclear option.