Hawks cut Sherman for ‘financial flexibility’

Richard Sherman tips a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the NFC Championship Game last season (Getty)It’s official: The Seahawks have decided to cut the best cornerback in team history — getting nothing for him even though he still has plenty to offer an NFL team.

The ill-advised move, which we never thought Seattle would make, clearly means John Schneider has plans for the $11 million the team is netting in cap space. He had better spend it wisely.

Sherman told reporters the Seahawks informed him they wanted “financial flexibility” heading into free agency next week but want to bring him back. He did not indicate whether he considered that an option.

Sherman’s departure leaves Seattle, for now, with Shaquill Griffin at the starting right corner and Neiko Thorpe, DeAndre Elliott and Mike Tyson as the reserves. Jeremy Lane also was cut Friday; Justin Coleman replaced him as the nickel back last season and should be back on an RFA tender. Schneider now must re-sign DeShawn Shead or Byron Maxwell or otherwise find someone to take Sherman’s longtime starting spot on the left side.

Sherman becomes the latest in a string of well-known corners to move around the NFL this offseason. The Rams traded for both Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib and signed Sam Shields; Buffalo signed Vontae Davis; and the Chiefs traded Peters, cut Darrelle Revis and added David Amerson. When free agency effectively starts Monday, Trumaine Johnson (Rams), Brent Grimes (Bucs) and Malcolm Butler (Patriots) are expected to head elsewhere, too.

Sherman has been one of the best corners of this decade and is pretty easily the best corner in Seahawks history — ahead of star cover men Dave Brown, Shawn Springs and Marcus Trufant.

Sherman, drafted in the fifth round in 2011, became one of the best grads of the Pete Carroll Secondary School (which includes such stars as Joey Browner, Carl Lee, Merton Hanks, Tim McDonald, James Hasty, Erik McMillan, Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy).

Sherman leaves Seattle with 32 interceptions, tied with Kenny Easley for fourth on Seattle’s career INT list (Earl Thomas is five behind). Only Dave Brown (50), Eugene Robinson (42) and John Harris (41) have more.

Sherman quickly forged a reputation as Seattle’s new Gary Payton — a garrulous guy who backed up every word.

Sherman took it over the top, though, after the Seahawks beat the 49ers to advance to Super Bowl XLVIII. His rant took away from the glory of the moment and became the story of that week — painting Sherman in a light he surely did not intend.

Whether it was that incident or his big new contract later in 2014, Sherman mellowed out for a couple of years (maybe it was the lack of sleep after having children). But then he returned to his controversial self in 2016 — taking his antics too far when he yelled at coaches in a couple of games.

That appeared to be the final straw for Carroll and Schneider, who openly shopped Sherman last offseason. No one offered the bounty they were demanding, though, so they kept him for another year. They certainly would have traded him this year, but a torn Achilles ruined that plan.

So, with his value greatly diminished for now and teams knowing the Seahawks wanted his cap space, he’s on the street instead. Look for New England to try to scoop him up.

He said he is “looking for a great fit, a team that has a great QB. Looking for somewhere I will be comfortable.”


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