Jesse Pantuosco

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What’s Next for Sherman?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


What would the Legion of Boom be without Richard Sherman? The Legion of Less Boom? The Legion of Occasional Boom? Some Boom?

 

None of those would be right because there is no Legion of Boom without Richard Sherman. Yet here we are, a month removed from free agency and two weeks before the NFL draft, and the idea of a Sherman-less Seahawks secondary is more real than it’s ever been. Gasp.

 

No, the Seahawks aren’t on crazy pills. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Sherman has asked to be traded. The Seahawks have obliged Sherman by putting out feelers in recent weeks. From the looks of it, it would take nothing less than a Godfather offer to pry Sherman away from the team that drafted him in 2011. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo hears the Seahawks are targeting at least a first-rounder and a mid-round pick for Sherman while Ian Rapoport (also of NFL Network) suggests it will take a high draft pick and a “potentially very good player on a low contract” for Seattle to pull the trigger.

 

That’s a sky-high asking price, but difference makers like Sherman don’t come around too often. Sherman’s resume speaks for itself. The 29-year-old has been a Pro Bowler each of the last four years and has been an All-Pro selection in four of the last five. Sherman led the league with a career-high eight interceptions in 2013 while guiding Seattle to its first and so far only Super Bowl win.

 

Of course, Sherman’s six-year tenure in the Pacific Northwest hasn’t always been a smooth ride. He clashed with coaches last year, notably butting heads with offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell for calling a pass play on the goal line against the Rams in Week 15. The Stanford alum also beefed with a local radio host, threatening to end his career after veering into a topic he didn’t want to discuss. As dominant as he’s been over the last half-decade, Sherman has always been a loose cannon and it’s fair to wonder if his act has worn thin inside the Seahawks’ locker room.

 

Most of Seattle’s original Legion of Boom remains intact but the unit isn’t as bulletproof as it once was. Kam Chancellor was injured for a spell last year, as was Earl Thomas. The latter injury was so acute that Thomas nearly hung up his cleats for good. Sherman had a down year by his standards but still earned PFF’s No. 10 cornerback grade out of 119 qualifiers. He was hurt too, playing through what head coach Pete Carroll characterized as a “significant MCL injury.” The NFL threatened to penalize the Seahawks for not accurately reporting Sherman’s injury but instead let them off with a slap on the wrist.

 

The Seahawks extended their streak of playoff appearances to five last year but they weren’t around for long, falling flat in a Divisional Round loss to Atlanta. That game felt like the end of an era. For the first time in years, the Seahawks didn’t look like they belonged. The Falcons dominated them in every way possible, the gulf in talent too large for the outclassed Seahawks to overcome. If Seattle’s championship window wasn’t already closed, the Falcons may have shut it for good.

 

The Legion of Boom won’t last forever and maybe it’s time for the Seahawks to think of an exit strategy. Moving Sherman now while his trade value is still relatively high would be a good place to start. But who would take the bait? Seattle hasn’t fielded many calls on Sherman yet, but the Patriots have shown more interest than most. New England pursued Sherman about a month ago, though that ship was thought to have sailed after the Patriots reeled in Stephon Gilmore on a five-year, $65 million contract.

 

Since the Gilmore deal went down, the Patriots have had their own disgruntled cornerback to contend with. Malcolm Butler was none too happy about Gilmore’s big payday, especially after all the Patriots offered him was a $3.91 million restricted free agent tender. It’s easy to see where Butler is coming from. The undrafted West Alabama alum saved the Patriots’ season with one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history two years ago and vastly outperformed Gilmore in 2016.

 

Butler has yet to sign his free agent tender and has openly flirted with the Saints, who play just three hours from his hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer believes that’s where Butler will ultimately land, but the Patriots can’t trade him until he signs his free agent tender. The deadline to do that is April 21, just six days before the NFL draft opens in Philadelphia.

 

Butler’s status is worth monitoring because if he does end up with New Orleans, the Patriots would then be on the lookout for a cornerback to pair with Gilmore on the outside. At that point the Patriots could reopen talks with Seattle and see if they can work out a deal for Sherman. New England has more than enough cap space to accommodate Sherman’s $11.43 million salary and adding an established star to the mix would be consistent with the team’s win-now approach.

 

The problem is that Seattle covets a high draft pick, but the Patriots already sent their first-rounder to New Orleans in the Brandin Cooks trade last month. New England’s earliest pick in the draft is 72nd overall, which won’t be enough to land a player of Sherman’s caliber.

 

Perhaps the Seahawks will soften their demands as the draft gets closer—that’s usually when buyers call the seller’s bluff. But without adequate draft capital, the Patriots are going to have a hard time convincing the Seahawks to part with a player who has guided them to the best six-year stretch in franchise history. Maybe it’s better that way. The Legion of Boom needs its leader.

 

Quick Hits: James Laurinaitis announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday. The linebacker spent seven of his eight seasons with the Rams before playing his final year with New Orleans … The Rams officially waived Stedman Bailey on Monday. The former third-round pick hasn’t played since getting shot in the head during a drive-by shooting in 2015. Bailey has been working as an assistant coach at West Virginia (his alma mater) since last year … According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Browns are split on who to take with the No. 1 pick. They’re thought to be choosing between Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett (the right choice, in my opinion) and North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky … Free agent Johnathan Hankins met with the Colts on Tuesday. The 25-year-old reportedly has an offer on the table from the Giants, who he spent his first four seasons with … Colts GM Chris Ballard is hoping Robert Turbin can take “some of the load off” Frank Gore this season. Turbin tallied eight touchdowns last year on only 73 touches … Tyler Eifert said he’s almost at full strength after undergoing back surgery late last season. Eifert led all tight ends with 13 touchdowns in 2015 but was limited to just eight games while battling back and ankle injuries last year … NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said Adrian Peterson’s visit with the Saints went well, though he left without a contract. Peterson visited the Patriots last week and also met with the Seahawks before they signed Eddie Lacy … Per NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, Ben Roethlisberger is campaigning for the Steelers to draft a tight end at 30th overall. Alabama’s O.J. Howard, Miami’s David Njoku and Evan Engram from Ole Miss are considered the top tight ends in this year’s draft class … The Seahawks took a flyer on former third overall pick Dion Jordan. The 27-year-old was cut by the Dolphins after missing all of last season with a knee injury. He also sat out the 2015 campaign while serving a year-long PED suspension … Marshawn Lynch was involved in an incident Monday when two teenage fans hounded him for an autograph at LAX. Lynch responded by swatting away a phone and spitting in the fans’ direction … According to Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice, Dorial Green-Beckham “must be significantly improved” to make the Eagles’ roster in 2017. DGB hauled in just 36-of-74 targets last year for 392 yards and two touchdowns … Redskins linebacker Junior Galette was charged with disorderly conduct and failure to comply with police orders stemming from an arrest Friday in Biloxi, Mississippi. According to the police report, Galette was seen “striking another individual” before fleeing the scene … It doesn’t sound like the Redskins have made much progress in negotiations with Kirk Cousins. “The ball’s in the team’s court,” said Cousins. “I’m under contract and comfortable playing under the contract I signed.” Cousins will hit free agency next year if the Redskins can’t lock him into a long-term deal by July 15 … Demaryius Thomas has spent the offseason getting healthy after being hampered by hip issues last year. The 1,083 receiving yards Thomas registered last season were his fewest since 2011 … Carlos Hyde is still recovering from a torn MCL he suffered in Week 16. The 26-year-old finished 12 yards shy of 1,000 last season … Tony Romo hooped it up on Tuesday as an honorary member of the Dallas Mavericks. He was introduced with the team and even got to practice with them before the game. Owner Mark Cuban was hoping to let him play (seriously) but NBA commissioner Adam Silver quickly put the kibosh on that.



Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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