In football terms, especially in light of where the Seahawks are and where they believe they should still be, trading Richard Sherman would be crazy.
In NFL terms, trading him would be nothing even remotely surprising.
To most of the sane world, Sherman, 29, is still one of the very best at what he does — and if, as it’s already being hinted, he’s not what he used to be, he’s still better than pretty much anyone with which the Seahawks might replace him.
But to the NFL … just focus on one word from above: Replace. Everybody is replaceable. Nobody, not even Richard Sherman, is indispensable. The admission by general manager John Schneider made it sound like just a part of the business — and it is.
If there ever was a time and place for the Seahawks to replace him, it would be now, because this is when and where the contract extension he signed in 2014kicks in big-time. Yes, much of this sudden talk about the Seahawks trading Sherman can be tracedto money.
According to spotrac.com, Sherman's cap number each of the next two seasons is more than $13 million, but his dead money drops from $9.4 million this season to $2.2 million in 2018, the deal’s final season.
He’s expensive.He’s really good. And the Seahawks have been declaring since right after their playoff elimination by the Falcons last season that their window is not even close to closing yet. The latter two should cancel out the former. Instead, it might be the other way around.
Crazy. But very NFL.
One can be, no pun intended, the cornerstone of the Legion of Boom, the anchor of a back-to-back Super Bowl team just two seasonsago, an integral part of the team’s identity — and when it's time for the team to move on from thecontract, thecontract’s going to get moved.
Nobody is indispensable, nobody is irreplaceable. Peyton Manning didn’t finish his career with the Colts, for just one obvious recent example. Who’s safe, ever? Nope, not even him, you know who, up in Foxborough.
Honestly, speaking of the team at hand, the franchise quarterback on Sherman’s own team isn’t guaranteed to stay there forever. In fact, you can bet Russell Wilson is watching this Sherman situation closely.
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Coincidentally, the Seahawks conduct business in a more Patriots-like fashion than generally gets discussed. That’s relevant because the team speculated to be tied most to a possible Sherman trade is the Patriots, with Malcolm Butler involved. There have been pluses and minuses to that model. The minuses have played out on the offensive line, for example.
The pluses have played out in the way Kam Chancellor is still Sherman’s Legion-mateafter he held out for a new contract two seasons ago, and Schneider held firm. Add to that the revolving door at the opposite corner from Sherman — it’s been an issue, but not insurmountable, because the Seahawks have kept everybody else in the secondary intact.
They've seen the chaos that can ensue when Chancellor and/or Earl Thomas have been missing. They’re still willing to embrace the consequences of removing someone even harder to replace, Sherman.
If that’s not a message that nobody is safe, nothing is.
But it’s the message the NFL is never afraid to send — by any team, to any player. Richard Sherman is just the latest.