“I wouldn’t want to leave this city and my guys, but I understand it’s a business and organizational philosophies change.” — Richard Sherman to 710 ESPN.
Pete Carroll’s philosophy has not changed at all.
One of his main mantras for his players is: “Protect the team.” Richard Sherman has not done that over the past year, despite several admonishments by Carroll, and that is why the Seahawks are willing to trade him — for the right price.
Sherman, a four-time Pro Bowl player and three-time No. 1 All-Pro, has become one of those egomaniacs we usually see on other teams — the prima donna receiver or cornerback who thinks the team and world revolve around him.
That’s not how Carroll’s Seahawks work, and Carroll has made that clear to Sherman — privately and publicly.
So this is his warning: Rein it in and become a team player again or follow former clubhouse cancer Percy Harvin out the door.
The Seahawks aren’t going to give Sherman away, especially this year as they deal with depth issues at cornerback. They probably would not deal him for less than a first-rounder and another mid-round pick. And that doesn’t seem likely.
As Carroll said, “I don’t see anything happening at all. … But it has been talked about. He’s a great player and can impact another team. I can see why people would be interested in him.”
Some think the Seahawks would be crazy to deal one of their best players, especially when they are shorthanded in the secondary — with DeShawn Shead (ACL) and Earl Thomas (broken leg) both recovering from serious injuries. Carroll admitted Sherman is “extremely important to our football team.”
But he’s not above the team.
Remember these facts: (1) One player does not make a team, especially one loaded with defensive stars as Seattle is; (2) Carroll made Sherman into the All-Pro he is; (3) this is the perfect draft to find a replacement for Sherman.
Sherman is one of seven Pro Bowl players on Seattle’s defense — a star-studded unit that includes Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. Sherman is probably No. 4 on the list of importance, behind Thomas, Wagner and Bennett.
Just like the legendary Marshawn Lynch, Sherman is replaceable. The Pete Carroll Secondary School has been in session for 30 years. The guy is a wizard when it comes to coaching defensive backs, which is why that has been the strength of his Seahawks and why he built his defense from the back forward.
He has turned guys like Shead and Byron Maxwell into very good starting corners, and he has another young batch of guys he really likes. The Hawks are high on Neiko Thorpe, DeAndre Elliott and Pierre Desir and also have the veteran Lane, another Carroll product, as they wait for Shead to return.
On top of that, the draft is loaded with corners. Many think the Hawks might take one in the first round — adding a guy like Kevin King who could step right in as a rookie. Even if they don’t do that, they seem very likely to add one (or two) on Day 2 (when they have four picks).
The Hawks could trade Sherman during the draft, if they know they will get a ready replacement high, or — assuming he continues his madcap behavior — they could trade him next year, with a year still left on his deal.
The complicating factors for a deal this year are the Seahawks’ depth issues and the depth of the draft, which makes it tougher to get good value for Sherman.
Right now, the Hawks should not do it for anything less than a first and another pick — or maybe two 2s. Absent that, just keep him and see if he is willing to be a better teammate in 2017.
If he continues his selfish shenanigans, explore a trade in 2018, when Seattle’s secondary depth should be better and the Hawks might be able to still get a first-round pick for Sherman.
Even if they don’t trade him, it is difficult to see the Hawks wanting to extend the prima donna beyond 2018. Absent a trade, they seem likely to let him leave in 2019, when he will be 31, and take the likely third-round comp pick in 2020.