Richard Sherman reiterated Wednesday that he remains open to a reunion with the Seahawks.
“It’s always in the cards,” Sherman said during an appearance on the ESPN show “First Take.” “I spend my entire offseason in Seattle. It’s where I live. It’s where my family is. So it’s always in the cards.”
That backed up what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said after the draft Saturday when Carroll said the two have had multiple conversations this offseason and the team would not close the door on a possible return by one of the franchise’s best and most famous players.
The question now appears to be if Seattle would have the need to re-sign Sherman — or enough of a need to make it worth Sherman’s while to return.
While Carroll said the Seahawks would be open to the idea of a Sherman return, he also made clear that signing another cornerback was not on the team’s immediate agenda.
“That’s not one of our thoughts right now that we’re going out and getting another guy at this spot,” Carroll said Saturday. “But we’re going to keep looking. We’re not going to stop looking. We’re going to compete. In that sense, I leave everything open and that’s just one of them.”
Carroll made that comment after the Seahawks drafted cornerback Tre Brown of Oklahoma in the fourth round and then announced that Brown will play on the outside and not as a nickel — something you might not think the Seahawks would do if a Sherman return were imminent.
The Seahawks then also signed Bryan Mills of North Carolina Central as an undrafted free agent. The 6-foot, 180-pound Mills was regarded by many as a potential late-round pick and was rated by NFL.com after the draft as the top-rated cornerback who went unselected. Seattle paid Mills a reported bonus of $20,000 of the team’s $160,000 UDFA bonus allotment, which indicates how avidly Seattle went after him.
Seattle earlier this offseason also signed free agents Ahkello Witherspoon (who played alongside Sherman the last three years with the 49ers) and Pierre Desir to add to the cornerback mix. Seattle also re-signed Damarious Randall, a 2015 first-round pick of the Packers who started at corner for three years, and announced that he is moving from the safety spot he played last year for Seattle to cornerback.
All of which would not seem to be the actions of a team planning for the return of Sherman.
In fact, Seattle now has eight cornerbacks on its roster — the others being holdovers D.J. Reed, Tre Flowers, former UW standout Jordan Miller and Gavin Heslop — which is more than it has linebackers (seven, after the team’s waiver claim on Wednesday of Nate Evans from the Jaguars).
And that number doesn’t include Marquise Blair and Ugo Amadi, who are listed as safeties but are expected to battle for the nickel corner spot.
Seattle doesn’t typically keep more than four or five cornerbacks on its initial 53-player roster.
Some might counter that Sherman is better than any of Seattle’s current corners. Certainly, in his prime, he was one of the best ever.
But Sherman is now 33 and hasn’t played an entire season since 2016 due to injuries, including playing only five last year. And last season, he had his lowest overall and pass coverage rankings of his career from Pro Football Focus.
So at this point, Sherman may be viewed by Seattle as an option down the road if the cornerback position doesn’t develop the way the Seahawks planned.
Sherman seemed to acknowledge some other things might have to happen for a reunion with Seattle to happen, while having also stated that how he feels he would fit in and the opportunity he would have will be factors in where he signs.
“Everything needs to shake out right,” Sherman said. “They are still figuring things out. I’m still figuring things out.”
And as did Carroll Saturday, Sherman said that if things don’t work out, it won’t be because of what might have been perceived as ill will between the two sides when Sherman was cut by the team in March, 2018.
“There’s no bad blood between them and I,” Sherman said, adding that the thought of a return to Seattle is “a cool opportunity.”
Sherman said he also would still be open to signing with the New Orleans Saints — where former Seattle defensive backs coach and defensive coordinator Kris Richard is now in charge of the secondary — and the 49ers, which is the only other team he’s played for aside from Seattle.
But Sherman noted the Saints drafted cornerback Paulson Adebo, who like Sherman played at Stanford, in the third round.
“I think it would be a fit,’’ he said. “I just don’t think they have the need that people think they do.”
As for a return to the 49ers, Sherman said he’d be open to it while seeming to indicate he might not be signing with any team for a long while.
“There’s always a chance it could end up working out back in the Bay,” Sherman said. “… (I) would be ecstatic if something happened there. … But it’s one of those things that will probably happen late or during the season if it happens at all.”