It’s Friday before a long weekend with the true doldrums of the NFL news cycle lurking just beyond the long weekend. Longtime fans of the Seattle Seahawks have taken the loss in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, shrugged off the departures of Jarran Reed, Shaquill Griffin, David Moore and others in free agency, and are excited for the team’s potential in 2021. However, while fans are excited about what many of the younger names on the roster can do with an expanded opportunity this season, there are those calling for the team to bring back future Hall of Fame cornerback Richard Sherman.
However, based on several factors a reunion seems unlikely.
Specifically, the biggest reason it does not make sense for Seattle to bring Sherman back for another go round is the simple fact that one of the things the team needs to do in 2021 is figure out who will be in the secondary in 2022. That in and of itself does not make a lot of sense, so here is a look at the members of the secondary in relation to their current contract status (starters noted in bold):
- SS Jamal Adams: unrestricted free agent in 2022
- FS Quandre Diggs: unrestricted free agent in 2022
- CB D.J. Reed: unrestricted free agent in 2022
- CB Akhello Witherspoon: unrestricted free agent in 2022
- CB Tre Flowers: unrestricted free agent in 2022
- CB Pierre Desir: unrestricted free agent in 2022
- CB Damarious Randall: unrestricted free agent in 2022
- CB Tre Brown: unrestricted free agent in 2025
- S Ryan Neal: exclusive rights free agent in 2022
- NCB Ugo Amadi: unrestricted free agent in 2023
- NCB/S Marquise Blair: unrestricted free agent in 2023
Basically, the team has none of its four projected starters in the secondary signed past this upcoming season. Now, the expectation is obviously that Jamal Adams could be signed to a contract extension in the coming weeks or months, but there’s no guarantee that happens at this point. It’s certainly possible that at some point in early August the team announces a contract extension for Adams, but it’s also possible at this point that Adams could decide to simply wait and see how wealthy he can make himself as an unrestricted free agent next spring.
Looking at the contract status of the players set to go at it in the Seattle secondary in 2021 on thing immediately jumps out - the top five or six names are all set to be free agents next offseason. It would certainly be possible for Tre Brown or one of the other younger names to seize control of one of the starting roles for the defense, but given the minimal amount of playing time the Seahawks have handed to rookies in recent seasons, it seems more likely 2022 would be when a youngster like Brown could truly blossom.
And that brings things back to the current discussion - which of the defensive backs on the roster fit within the culture and scheme of the Seahawks and are worth signing for the future. Specifically, 2021 appears to be a season in which guys like Reed, Witherspoon, Desir, Flowers, Randall and others are given every shot to show what they can do. Whichever of those players emerges as the starter in 2021 likely then has the inside track on a contract extension that could provide some clarity at one of the outside corner spots, with the others battling for an opportunity to keep Tre Brown on the bench in 2022.
And that’s where the idea of bringing in Richard Sherman to compete at cornerback seems to die. Sherman certainly knows the system, and he likely mentored both Reed and Witherspoon during their time together with the San Francisco 49ers. However, how much good does it do the Seahawks in figuring out their cornerback position for 2022 if one of the starting roles gets claimed by Sherman? That leads to a situation where they would be potentially looking at only having true auditions for their second cornerback role, and would be right back in the same spot as they currently are, trying to find two starting corners because they aren’t exactly certain about what they have.
Further, based on Sherman’s past, he doesn’t seem like the type to be in a hurry to sign a low dollar contract in order to come in and mentor the younger guys. That’s not to say he wouldn’t do that, just that if that is indeed the route he decides to take, it would seem more likely that he’d opt to do so for a team in a major media market such as New York or Los Angeles. A pairing with the New York Jets could make sense, as it would allow him to mentor the Jets secondary in Robert Saleh’s defense while also in a media market where he could easily work on further building the foundation of his post-playing days career. Similarly, in Los Angeles he could team up with either Sean McVay and the Rams or Brandon Staley and the Chargers while staying close to family and setting up his future work.
So, it’s certainly not completely out of the question that he could come back to Seattle, at the end of the day unless the Seahawks are going to put a little extra incentive on the table, other teams in other cities likely have more to offer in terms of recruiting Sherm.