If you recall, about a year ago Richard Sherman was involved in trade rumors and several people, yours truly included, dreamed up scenarios in which he ended up in Green Bay. Obviously nothing developed there, but recent developments could open the door for Sherman to wear green and gold in 2018.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweeted this out earlier today:
#Seahawks CB Richard Sherman has told teammates goodbye over the past 24 hours, sources say, and that he won’t be on the team. Those close to him say nothing is set in stone and there has been no official word. But clearly bears watching.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2018
While nothing is set in stone, all indication is that Sherman will be out of Seattle sooner rather than later. The seven-year veteran is owed $11 million in 2018, a price the Seahawks appear unwilling to pay for the 30-year-old cornerback.
One of Rapoport’s fellow NFL Network reporters, Tom Pelissero, added to the drama with his tweet minutes later:
#Seahawks star Richard Sherman is scheduled to meet with coach Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider later today to discuss his future, I'm told.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 7, 2018
This meeting, coupled with the other pieces of news, means that Sherman will join Malcolm Butler and Trumaine Johnson as one of the most coveted free agent cornerbacks.
So Sherman is available. Do we care? Well, if general manager Brian Gutekunst’s remark that the Packers would be involved in every possible discussion is to be believed, then we absolutely care, especially when it comes to pass coverage. Amongst the multitude of struggles in 2017 was, once again, the pass defense. The Packers were 23rd in passing yards allowed, 23rd in passes defensed, in 20th in interceptions. While those numbers are up from years past, they still aren’t good, not by a long shot. Now, it is fair to point out that the secondary dealt with a rash of injuries throughout the season. However, even when healthy they were no better than league average.
As it stands, the Packers have no clear cut number one cornerback. Damarious Randall came on strong after a slow start but he hasn’t been a lockdown corner consistently in his career. Kevin King showed potential but has yet to prove he can hold up for a full season and hang with the NFL’s best wide receivers. Quinten Rollins hasn’t proven to be better than an average slot corner when healthy. Davon House played well but was far from dominant in his return to Green Bay last year. The point is, Green Bay would do well to add a quality, capable veteran to the mix in 2018.
Sherman is no young buck, but he’s a savvy veteran that has consistently brought a tough, hard nosed attitude to the field throughout his career, something any defense should rightfully covet. You’re a fool to think his presence wouldn’t improve the secondary and the defense as a whole at least marginally if not massively.
Now, even if we assume Sherman is a free agent and that the Packers will pursue him, it’s no guarantee that he winds up a Packer. The next hurdle will be the cap space required to sign him. If any general manager coughs up the $11 million per year that Richard had been getting in Seattle they deserve to be fired on the spot. However, Sherman can rightfully expect a contract that will pay him an average of $5 to $8 million per year over the course of one to three years. The Packers have some money to spend, but they aren’t overflowing with cap space (read a more detailed analysis of the cap situation here). The team likely would need to convince Sherman to take somewhere in the range of $6 or $7 million per year in order for it to make sense for the team. However, that may be a price Sherman is willing to take to play for a contender.
Though the team had a down season in 2017, Sherman has seen first hand what Aaron Rodgers can do, and if he can contribute to a quality defense for number 12, there’s no question the Packers should be one of the favorites in the Super Bowl conversation in 2018. In the end, we’ve yet to see Brian Gutekunst make a move as general manager, which makes him extraordinarily hard to predict. But Richard Sherman in Green Bay? It’s not as crazy as you may have initially thought.