No one imagined the day when Richard Sherman would play in another uniform, but every sign is pointing toward the All-Pro corner’s time being up with the Seattle Seahawks.
His exit, along with Michael Bennett’s and likely others to come, signals an end to a defensive era of dominance for the Super Bowl XLVIII champions. Soon Sherman will be free to contribute to a new era somewhere else. Where could that be?
The phone should be ringing off the hook for a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro shutdown corner with Hall of Fame credentials. Sherman could literally go anywhere as long as the price is right, and he’s willing to accept the fact that he’s a 29-year-old coming off injuries to both Achilles.
That is more likely to net him a one-year prove-it deal with a top team, while more talent-deficient organizations might be willing to roll the dice on a contract with longer terms. However, it’s hard to imagine an ultra-competitor like Sherman running with the money on a rebuilding team and bypassing an opportunity to compete for another championship.
He isn’t going to be taken advantage of in the negotiating room, but the original member of the Legion of Boom might be willing to compromise depending on which team sits at the other side of the table.
Here are three places he might end up.
New England Patriots
Talk about a match made in heaven.
Richard Sherman teaming up with Bill Belichick would be like Darrelle Revis and the New England Patriots all over again. The rich could definitely get richer if Sherman’s comments last year about joining the Patriots hold strong in free agency.
There is an obvious need for the Patriots’ defense at cornerback with Malcolm Butler halfway out the door. Stephen Gilmore was on point when he said the “sky would be the limit” if Sherman joined the Patriots. Those two on the field at the same time would easily be the best cornerback tandem in football.
Throw in a pass rush and a power running game, and the Patriots could be the most complete football team in the league.
Sherman’s former partner in crime in Seattle, Marshawn Lynch, could lure him over to the Oakland Raiders, another team with an obvious need for help in the secondary.
Not to mention Jon Gruden would love to get off to a hot start in his anticipated return as a head coach. What better way to kick-start a struggling defensive unit by adding the best corner in the league over the last few years?
Former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack could certainly use some help on the back end.
The Patriots make the most sense for Sherman’s next landing spot, but all sense could go right out the window if the Atlanta Falcons came calling.
Falcon head coach Dan Quinn coached the Seahawks’ defense during its best years, including the year they steamrolled Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. He already knows how to best utilize his former star corner, and the Falcons should be in the conversation as a Super Bowl contender.
That’s more than enough motivation to get Sherman to sign on the dotted line.