John Schneider likes to make unexpected blockbuster deals in odd years.
In 2011, he gave big contracts to Sidney Rice and Zach Miller. In 2013, he acquired Percy Harvin and then signed Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. In 2015, he made another huge trade to get Jimmy Graham. So what’s he going to do in 2017?
One former NFL exec thinks he might trade Richard Sherman.
It’s an idea plenty of fans have bandied around ever since the egomaniacal Sherman started going off the emotional rails last season. Now Michael Lombardi, who has bounced around the league for 30 years, says his sources indicate the Seahawks are open to trading Sherman.
Anything is possible, of course, but this seems very unlikely this year — especially considering how thin the Seahawks are in the secondary right now. Sure, they seem very likely to add two or even three defensive backs in the draft, but why would they get rid of an All-Pro corner? And, with such a strong draft, why would some other team want to give Seattle at least a first-rounder and another high pick to add an expensive — and emotionally high-maintenance — player?
Pete Carroll and Schneider are known for their patience with headcases and injury-prone guys; they usually give those players two or three years before giving up on them. Of course, Sherman is an established star and still playing very well, so he has a longer rope than most.
The question is: How close is he to hanging himself with it?
Sherman was an emotional hurricane in 2016 — ripping almost all of his coaches, the NFL and the media on a nearly weekly basis. Carroll admitted it was a distraction — he talked to Sherman more than once about his outbursts.
But Schneider recently waved off Sherman’s 2016 season as “a bad day” (that was a hell of a long bad day, John).
And Doug Baldwin this week explained how the team views Sherman’s so-called bad attitude: “Sherm might say something to Pete, to John, to myself, to (Darrell Bevell) that on the outside may seem negative. But — because of the chemistry we have, because of the rapport and the relationships that we have within this team — it’s not necessarily taken as a personal threat or a personal comment. It’s taken as, ‘Hey, I’m competing. I just want you to know that I feel like we need to go in a different direction, we need to do something different.’
“I’m not saying that it’s always positive or that it’s always expressed in the right manner,” Baldwin said. “But what I’m saying is that it’s not taken as a negative thing within our locker room, within our four walls, because we have that chemistry and that rapport and that relationship.”
So, the Seahawks apparently don’t have a problem with Sherman — right now. And they seem very, very unlikely to trade him.
But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t at least listen if a team or teams came at them with trade offers. Sherman is signed for two more years, due $11.4 million in 2017 and $11 million in 2018.
For the heck of it, let’s look at some blockbusters that could make a bit of sense:
The 49ers have tons of cap space and glaring holes throughout their roster, including their secondary. They also are planning to run Seattle’s defense. The Niners have the No. 2 pick in the draft and surely wouldn’t want to give it up. But they might be open to giving the Hawks the second pick in Rounds 2 and 4 — and maybe a late pick. The Hawks wouldn’t be concerned about facing Sherman twice a year — not on such a bad team. And Sherman would reunite with Malcolm Smith and Brock Coyle.
The Titans have a big need for a No. 1 corner, and they also have over $40 million in cap space. They have two first-round picks (No. 5 and No. 18), so the Hawks could ask for the 5 straight up or the 18 and a third (Tennessee has two).
The Browns love former Seahawks and have more than enough room to fit Sherman’s contract. They also have a boatload of draft picks (11). They seem more inclined to add than subtract, but maybe they would want to give Seattle the No. 33 overall pick and the first pick in the fourth. Sherman would join former Seattle teammates Marcus Burley, Tyvis Powell and Alvin Bailey.
The Raiders’ defense is run by Ken Norton, who knows Sherman well. Bruce Irvin is there as well. And it seems possible that Marshawn Lynch will come out of retirement to play for Oakland, too. The Raiders have nearly $40 million in cap space — enough to fit Sherman and still do long-term deals for Derek Carr and Kahlil Mack. But, because they were so good in 2016, their draft stock is not that great — the 24th pick in every round, plus Seattle’s seventh-rounder (for Dewey McDonald in 2016). How about a package deal for Lynch and Sherman: Oakland’s first-rounder in 2017 and a second in 2018?