Over the past ten years, cornerback Richard Sherman has been one of the league’s top defenders, when healthy. During his career, the former Stanford wide receiver has earned five Pro Bowl nods, three First Team All-Pro selections, and a Super Bowl ring. He’s also become known as one of the biggest trash-talkers in the league. When you’ve racked up a resume as long and impressive as Sherman’s, you have the right to talk some smack. However, when you decide to dish it out, don’t be surprised if it comes back to bite you in the buttocks.
Sherman spent the first seven years of his career with the Seattle Seahawks, who promptly cut the defensive back in 2018 following a season where Sherman missed seven games due to an Achilles injury. Sherman wasted no time signing with NFC West rival San Francisco, citing that having the opportunity to play Seattle twice a year was one of the main reasons he joined the Niners. Sherman also lashed out at his former head coach Pete Carroll on Uninterrupted’s “The ThomaHawk Show,” claiming Carroll’s system and message had become stale, and that the former USC coach was struggling to keep Seattle’s veterans motivated during his final years in the Pacific Northwest:
“A lot of us have been there six, seven, eight years, and [Carroll’s] philosophy is built more for college. Four years, guys rotate in, rotate out, and so we had kind of heard all his stories, we had kind of heard every story, every funny anecdote that he had. And honestly, because he just recycles them…we could recite them before he even started to say them.”
Sherman has also had beef with Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Sherman has gone on record stating that the infamous final play of Super Bowl XLIX, where Malcolm Butler picked off Russell Wilson at the 1-yard line, was called in an effort by Carroll to earn Wilson the Super Bowl MVP award. Approximately five months after the Super Bowl loss, Sherman screamed “You fucking suck!” at Wilson after picking off one of his passes in practice. There were also reports that several former Seattle defenders bad-mouthed the Seahawks organization for choosing to build around Wilson following the team’s loss to New England in 2015, rather than their defense, which had been the team’s strongest asset during their two consecutive trips to the Super Bowl, at Sherman’s wedding in 2018. After Sherman signed with the 49ers, prior to his first game squaring off against his former team, when asked about his relationship with his former signal-caller Sherman said, “I don’t really have a relationship with Russell.” Undoubtedly, Sherman’s relationship with the Seahawks started to crumble after the terrible play call at the end of the Super Bowl in 2015.
Six years after the fact, Sherman, age 33, is a free agent, still unsigned after over a month-and-a-half on the open market. Well, he’s obviously waited long enough, because Sherman has come out publicly stating that he wouldn’t mind a reunion with Seattle. This is why you don’t burn bridges, everyone! While I’m sure Seahawks fans would welcome the former Legion of Boom member back with open arms, Sherman might have to come to practice everyday and listen up as Pete Carroll throws around those same anecdotes and stories while looking Sherman dead in the eyes the whole time.
And why would Seattle even want Sherman? The team currently has eight cornerbacks on the roster. They drafted CB Tre Brown out of Oklahoma in the 4th round, and signed an undrafted free agent, CB Byron Mills, out of North Carolina Central. Not only that, Sherman has shown signs of slowing in recent years. Most notably, Sherman was burned on a go-route in Super Bowl LIV by Sammy Watkins, which played a major part in Kansas City’s ability to come back and win that game. If Sherman were to rejoin Seattle, he’d be in a division with some of the fastest receivers in the game — Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Christian Kirk, Rondale Moore, and Robert Woods.
Sherman’s best fit would be with a team holding a few young, talented receivers who could learn to take their game to the next level under Sherman’s tutelage. Teams that come to mind include Cleveland, Detroit, and Denver. However, Sherman has also stated that he only wants to go to a team that will 1) be a contender, and 2) give Sherman lots of playing time. Given Sherman’s price tag (he earned almost $13 million in 2020 through salary and incentives, and is projected to earn close to $7.5 million in base salary alone in 2021) , and the fact that he only played in five games last season while recording just 18 tackles and one pass defended, it seems unlikely that Sherman will have his demands met. He might have to lower his standards even further than he already has if he wants to see the field in 2021.