Taking a look at some of the issues arising from the Seahawks' admission at the NFL league meetings that the team has fielded trade offers for cornerback Richard Sherman.
Pete Carroll’s answers about Richard Sherman at the NFL league meetings this week seemed to raise only more questions.
Could the Seahawks really be thinking about trading Sherman? What could they get? And isn’t what Carroll and general manager John Schneider said about the team always exploring opportunities what they would be expected to say?
So consider this an attempt to bring a little clarity.
Q: What’s the big deal with Carroll and Schneider saying they have fielded calls for Sherman? Wouldn’t just about any player be available for the right price?
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A: In general, yes. But when it comes to star players, the standards are often a little bit different and an admission that the team would at least think about a trade when it comes to a player such as Sherman raised eyebrows.
One who thought Carroll’s comments about the team fielding offers was surprising was former player agent Joel Corry, who now writes about NFL financial issues for CBSSports.com.
“They didn’t just knock it down,’’ Corry said. “They didn’t even put it in the ‘for the right price, everybody is available’ mode. They didn’t even put it that way. I was surprised he (Carroll) took it there, which to me signifies he wasn’t all that crazy about some of Sherman’s comments last year.’’
Q: So is this just a little message sending?
A: Undoubtedly that’s part of it. Sherman’s 2016 season was the rockiest and strangest of his career, featuring two well-publicized sideline blowups aimed at coaches, a post-game questioning of a play call by offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, and what seemed to be Sherman and Carroll not being on the same page about how Sherman would publicly handle his criticism of Bevell — after Carroll hinted Sherman would apologize, Sherman instead held his ground during a press conference that appeared to catch the team by surprise. Sherman also then began not talking to many members of the local media.
Carroll largely covered for Sherman at every turn last season, including stating two days after the playoff loss to Atlanta that Sherman was playing with a knee injury that had not been revealed and that led to frustration that led to some of the other incidents.
As much as anything, Carroll’s statements at the league meeting may have been simply letting Sherman know that a repeat performance of 2016 won’t be tolerated in 2017 — a re-setting of expectations heading into a new season.
Q: Has Sherman had any response?
A: Last week, Sherman said he laughs off trade rumors during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take.
According to Gee Scott of ESPN 710 Seattle, Sherman offered a further response Thursday to the trade talk, stating: “I wouldn’t want to leave this city and my guys, but understand it’s a business and organizational philosophies change.”
It may be dangerous to read much into such a short statement, the tone of which seemed a little bit different than what he had said on First Take. But that comment didn’t appear to shoot down the idea that Sherman would be open to being traded any more than Carroll’s comments at the league meetings.
Q: But didn’t Carroll say “I don’t see anything happening at all?’’
A: He did, then added he has that sense due to the “the banter that’s out there right now.’’
That seemed to suggest the team has gotten offers it just hasn’t felt would be viable and doesn’t expect that would change.
Q: What kind of offers might the team have been seeking for Sherman?
A: Corry and Jason Fitzgerald of OvertheCap.com each said they would assume Seattle’s asking price would begin with basically with what the New York Jets got for trading cornerback Darrelle Revis to Tampa Bay in 2013 — a first-round pick, which was the 13th overall, and a fourth-rounder. Revis at the time was dealing with a knee injury and also worked out a contract paying him $16 million for that season, roughly $2 million more a year than Sherman makes now.
Revis was 28 at the time — Sherman turned 29 on Thursday. Sherman has two years left on his contract, with salary cap hits of $13.6 million and $13.2 million, respectively.
“I still think he has the value of a 1st round pick especially in what some consider a weak draft,’’ Fitzgerald said. “He’s just a year older than Revis was when the Jets were able to get a first-round pick for him from the Bucs in a similar looked upon draft so I think that is a reasonable comparison. He has the same kind of name value and upside. It’s just finding a team that is relatively desperate for a corner like the Saints or Cowboys that is willing to give a 1st round pick.’’
Said Corry: “If I’m the Seahawks, the first thing I’m thinking of is an injured Darrelle Revis went for a first and a fourth and Tampa had to give him a new contract. So if you can’t get in that ballpark, then don’t bother.’’
Q: If a trade were to occur, what would be the timing?
A: The NFL Draft is April 27-29. So anything would logically happen by then. The Seahawks are in win-now mode and wouldn’t seem likely to want to trade Sherman now for draft capital in future years.
Q: Doesn’t it make little football sense to think about trading Sherman?
A: Yep. Sherman is as valuable to the Seahawks as any player on the team aside from quarterback Russell Wilson. His value may be even greater right now with last year’s other starting cornerback, DeShawn Shead, unlikely to be ready for the season while rehabbing a knee injury and last year’s nickel cornerback, Jeremy Lane, having struggled at times last season. At the moment, Lane would likely be the other starting cornerback in place of Shead.
It’s regarded as an exceptionally good year for cornerbacks in the draft. But depending on a rookie always carries risks, and especially if the expectation would be to help replace a player who has been one of the best at his position for the last five years.
Q: So will a trade happen?
A: As Carroll said Wednesday, probably not. That a trade was apparently even considered, though, means this is a story not likely to go away anytime soon. Sherman now knows the team at least considered the idea of trading him. The team, conversely, has sent a strong message to Sherman that it expects him to heed. It has combined to create one of the more intriguing dynamics of this, or any, Seahawks season.