The Seahawks have to be nervous, right? Richard Sherman still has one year left on his contract, but in Seattle that’s typically when extension negotiations begin for elite players. And make no mistake, Sherman still considers himself elite.
Well, this won’t be boring.
That was my first thought when I heard Richard Sherman was going to act as his own agent going forward. This isn’t going to be something that ends without a story.
They could show the negotiations on pay-per-view, and I promise folks would buy. Sherman makes headlines almost every time he takes the podium, and would probably cause headaches for anyone he thinks is lowballing him.
How this turns out in the end is anybody’s guess. Making predictions when No. 25 is involved has become a futile exercise.
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But if I had to guess how all the parties involved are feeling right now, the one word I’d pick is … nervous.
The Seahawks have to be nervous, right? Sherman still has one year left on his contract, but in Seattle that’s typically when extension negotiations begin for elite players. And make no mistake, Sherman still considers himself elite. Asked Thursday why he felt he no longer needed an agent, he replied, “My résumé speaks for itself.”
This is true if we’re talking about the cornerback’s Hall of Fame potential. But it’s not as clear cut when you consider that Sherman is 29 and fresh off an Achilles tendon tear.
Still, Sherman indicated Thursday that his injury changes nothing about how he would negotiate his contract if there are talks this offseason. And that’s where things could get awkward.
It would be one thing for general manager John Schneider to say “we’re just not sure about him” to Sherman’s agent, who could spin it positively for his client. It’s another for Schneider to say that directly to Sherman’s face.
Not only are we talking about one of the great Seahawks of all time, we’re talking about a man who traditionally erupts after any perceived diss.
The thought now is that Seattle will wait until after the 2018 season before deciding if they want to try to bring him back. But could tensions flare irrevocably before that day comes?
Again, it’s hard to say. Perhaps Sherman ends up landing a mammoth extension this offseason and becomes the best-paid cornerback in the league.
Doubtful, but even so — that idea has to make agents feel nervous, too.
Sherman isn’t the first Seahawk to part ways with representation. Former left tackle Russell Okung did it two years ago, too. He even wrote an essay in the Players’ Tribune encouraging big-name players to do away with agents — especially as rookies, when the salaries are slotted by draft pick.
Some critics thought Okung got played for a fool when he signed a five-year deal with the Broncos that offered no guaranteed money. But a year later, after earning $8 million with Denver, he inked a four-year, $53 million contract with the Chargers that included $25 million of guaranteed cash.
That was a hell of a deal. And there’s no way to say for sure that an agent would have been able to find something better.
So if Sherman pulls off something similar — and he’s certainly capable, given his intelligence and knowledge of the market — it could reshape how players view the need for representation.
Then again, there’s also the chance he undersells himself. So if you can fathom it, Sherman is probably a little nervous, too.
The sports-agency world is replete with some of the smartest, most competitive, most ruthless people on the planet. It might be easier to play in the NFL than it is to make a living representing its players.
Slimy as they might come off at times, these guys know what they’re doing. They’re also allowed to negotiate with teams two days before the opening of free agency, which self-represented players cannot.
Some might argue that alone is worth the 3 percent commission. Others might argue that, given all the time, emotion and money agents save their clients, 3 percent is a bargain.
Remember, had Okung suffered a significant injury while in Denver, his future salary would have been toast. Having a trained negotiator in your corner seems to be the prudent move.
But Sherman tends to defy anything typical. If there were Vegas odds on the next Seahawk to forgo an agent, it likely would have been Richard.
The man can be everything from maddening to enlightening to instigating to dominating. But one thing he never is, is boring.