The Seattle Seahawks have publicly come out and said star cornerback Richard Sherman is on the trade block and could be traded in the near future. This caught everyone in a frenzy about Sherman being available, so I felt it was time to lay out what this means for the Seattle Seahawks, Richard Sherman, and the playoff picture.
Richard Sherman came into the league as an underdog from Stanford. Pete Carroll saw potential in Sherman’s tall, long wingspan build and took a chance on him. Sherman used faithful coaching and his intelligence from Stanford, along with a massive chip on his shoulder, to make a name for himself in the National Football League and rise to be one of the best cornerbacks in the game. Sherman played with the “Legion of Boom” with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas that helped propel the Seahawks to two Super Bowl appearances and one Lombardi trophy.
The identity of the Seahawks has been the Legion of Boom and the LOB has set them up for their successful run in the NFL. The opposing corner has come and gone, but the center of that is Chancellor, Thomas, and Sherman. When one of those men is out on the sidelines, the structure begins to fall apart. These guys might be products of the system, but it takes all three men to run the system to its full efficiency.
Richard Sherman’s value to Seattle is high, or at least it should be. Losing Sherman would not guarantee that same continuity in the Seattle secondary. Thomas and Chancellor are allowed to do what they do because Sherman is locking down one side of the field. If Seattle was not able to replace Sherman of equal value, the secondary and that entire defense could suffer. With free agency being yesterday’s news, I would expect Seattle to find a cornerback they’re confident is the next Sherman in the draft next week. Sherman would be a tough asset to replace in that secondary, and if the Seahawks mess this up, it could ruin their run in the NFC.
Richard Sherman, again, receives the criticism he is only a product of the system, which could only prove to be true if he were to move away from Seattle. That asterisk, if one exists, can only be removed by Sherman moving to another team and proving himself to truly be one of the greats. If Sherman were to be traded, I feel he would thrive. Of course, he’d excel more in New England than he would at a team like Cleveland. But perhaps Sherman would still excel in most of the league. Atlanta and Dallas are two teams in the NFC I think of. The offense in Dallas run things and control time of possession to keep the defense on minimally. The Falcons, meanwhile, have been to a Super Bowl with a high octane offense and are currently rebuilding a defense with Dan Quinn at the helm, who used to coach Sherman in Seattle. These would be two options that would put Richard Sherman in the best situation possible to maintain his reputation as one of the elites.
If you look at the AFC, assuming Seattle doesn’t want to trade Sherman to an inner-conference competitor, I have already mentioned the New England Patriots. Other than that, I feel the Broncos or Chiefs could help Sherman out. Of course, these are two teams with high-profile secondaries that would surround Sherman with talent that is around him in Seattle. Could you imagine your two receivers facing Chris Harris Jr. and Richard Sherman? Can you picture a secondary of Eric Berry, Marcus Peters, and Richard Sherman? That would be a nightmare for teams, and likely the piece that positions the Chiefs to dethrone the Patriots.
While Sherman could also go to Jacksonville, a rebuilding defense at the moment, and do exceptionally well, I feel Richard Sherman needs to remain with a contender to continue playing at a high level. I am not trying to take away from any of Sherman’s accomplishments, but he would better serve on a team vying for a Super Bowl rather than a team like Tennessee or New Orleans, who aren’t even close.
In the end, it’s very unlikely Richard Sherman is traded. The Seahawks will keep the Legion of Boom in tact as long as possible, will remain in contention in the NFC, and nobody’s going to get that extra boost of help to make a deep playoff run in January. But if Sherman was dealt, who do you think he’s getting traded to? I would love to hear your insights in the comments below.