Would the Seahawks consider a trade of cornerback Richard Sherman to begin remaking their aging defense?
A story published on MMQB Thursday in which Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said there is “no bad blood” as a result of the team’s comments that it would consider trading him while also noting he doesn’t expect it to happen also floated an idea why all this is occurring in the first place — that the Seahawks are just trying to head off the aging curve and begin getting younger.
As author Albert Breer accurately notes, the Seahawks are beginning to get a little up there in years — which in itself is also a realization of how quickly windows can open and close in the NFL.
As Breer writes, a Seattle team that was the youngest ever to win the Super Bowl just three years ago now features a core that “has 10 players taking up 61 percent of its cap space—those guys count for a total of $101.26 million on the ’17 cap—and all 10 have played at least five NFL seasons. Seven of the 10 are 28 or older, and Earl Thomas and K.J. Wright will make it nine of 10 before the season starts.”
So, Breer writes, Seattle is looking to use the bargaining chip that is the 29-year-old Sherman (he celebrated his birthday March 30) to begin getting younger. Trade Sherman for, say, a first- and a fourth-round pick this year (the haul that the Jets got in 2013 for Darrelle Revis and probably about the best the Seahawks could hope for) and Seattle could begin to even more significantly reshape its roster both in terms of age and cap space.
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That all makes sense except I think most who follow the team closely doubt that the Seahawks’ brass would have suddenly thought this off-season “hey, we’re beginning to get old, let’s trade Richard!” had it not been for all the well-documented other stuff that happened with Sherman last season. There’s unquestionably a lot of message sending going on with what Pete Carroll and John Schneider have said about Sherman of late — that what was tolerated in 2016 won’t be in 2017.
But maybe the idea of Seattle considering trading Sherman to begin remaking the roster is also being floated to help create a potentially graceful exit for one of the team’s most impactful players — if it gets to that point — selling it solely as a football/financial decision and not because a few other things may have gone sour along the way.
If Seattle had wanted to get younger, it’s had other opportunities to do so the last year or so — it could have more seriously thought about trading Kam Chancellor during his holdout, and the team also could have not given the three-year extension it awarded last December to Michael Bennett, who will turn 32 in November and would be 35 by the end of the deal.
The overall point of the Seahawks needing an infusion of talented youth is valid, though.
Seattle has nine projected defensive starters who will all be 27 or older in 2017 — recall that the Seahawks had an average age of 26.4 when they won the Super Bowl in 2013, making them the youngest team in overall age to ever win it all. They were also the second-youngest to get there, after the 1971 Miami Dolphins, who lost that Super Bowl but then won the next two to go down as one of the greater dynasties in NFL history.
I noted earlier this week that regardless of what happens with Sherman, the Seahawks are going to need to begin replenishing the cornerback position in the draft this year, and that the good news is that this is regarded as one of the best cornerback classes in recent draft history.
Seattle took four cornerbacks who all made a significant impact in the first three years of the Carroll/Schneider regime from 2010-12 — Walter Thurmond in the fourth round in 2010, Sherman (fifth round) and Byron Maxwell (sixth) in 2011 and Jeremy Lane (sixth) in 2012.
But Seattle has drafted just two cornerbacks since then, neither of whom remains with the team — Tharold Simon (fifth) in 2013 and Tye Smith (fifth) in 2015 — which has helped create the situation of the Seahawks suddenly needing to add some youth in the secondary.
The Seahawks have five of the top 106 picks in the April 27-29 draft, so Seattle is already well-positioned to add some youth to its defense.
Now to find out if the Seahawks are really willing to embark on an even more drastic makeover.