Richard Sherman

NFC Notes: Hawks, Giants, Eagles, Cowboys

ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported Thursday that Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman has been holding a grudge against both quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Pete Caroll since the team’s devastating Super Bowl XLIX loss to the Patriots in 2015. But Sherman and defensive end Michael Bennett insist that’s not true (via Kevin Patra of NFL.com). “It’s just a bunch of nonsense from ‘anonymous’ sources. Can never put much gravity of things like that,” said Sherman, who, according to Wickersham, “allowed himself to imagine playing for the Cowboys” when Seattle placed him on the trade block earlier this spring. Bennett, meanwhile, dismissed the article as “trash” and “all gossip.”

The latest from the NFC East…

  • In an interview with 105.1 FM in New York on Thursday, now-Bears wide receiver Victor Cruz implied that the Giants didn’t involve him in their offense more last year because they knew they’d release him in the offseason (per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY). “Halfway through the year, you’re like, ‘OK, I’m balling,’ and then the other half I’m not getting the ball,” he said. “And you’re just like, ‘What’s going on?’ It was like, ‘OK, I see what’s happening. They don’t want me here anymore.’” Continued Cruz, who caught 39 of 72 targets in 2016: “If I played well, they owed me a ton of money that next year. So it was like, ‘let’s get Cruz off the books.'” Unsurprisingly, head coach Ben McAdoo refuted Cruz’s claims, telling reporters that “there is no accuracy” to the wideout’s theory (via Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today).
  • Cutting receiver Nelson Agholor would cost the Eagles more money than they’d save ($4.68MM versus $2.56MM), but his roster spot nonetheless looks to be in jeopardy, writes Andrew Kulp of CSNPhilly.com. Philadelphia signed two proven receivers in March, Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, to join Jordan Matthews, which could further marginalize Agholor. A first-round pick just two years ago, Agholor caught only 59 of 114 targets and three touchdowns from 2015-16.
  • It continues to look as though Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins will move to right tackle after functioning as a left guard during his first two seasons. Collins has lined up solely at right tackle during organized team activities this week and will likely continue to do so leading up to the season, according to Kate Hairopoulos and Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. The position opened up in Dallas when starter Doug Free retired earlier this offseason, and if Collins fills it, either Jonathan Cooper or Emmett Cleary could take over at left guard, per Hairopoulos and George.

Richard Sherman Wanted Cowboys Trade?

The Richard Sherman trade talk didn’t result in a trade this offseason, but things got serious enough for Sherman to daydream about where he might land. When things were bubbling earlier this year, Sherman told friends that he “allowed himself to imagine playing for the Cowboys,” Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com writes. Richard Sherman (vertical)

We have no indication that there were ever talks between the Cowboys and Seahawks, but Sherman would have been a logical fit for Dallas on a football level. The Cowboys’ secondary was picked apart in free agency this year as cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr left along with safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. Cowboys did draft three cornerbacks to help replenish that group, but a similar approach didn’t do a whole lot for the Panthers last year. The addition of Sherman would give them a bonafide CB1 alongside Orlando Scandrick and immediately cement them as one of the best overall defenses in the league.

Of course, there would have been many barriers to a potential trade. For starters, the Cowboys were very tight against the cap this offseason, which is what caused them to lose talented members of the secondary in the first place. Even now, Dallas has just ~$3.5MM in cap space, according to Over The Cap. Even when considering that the Cowboys wouldn’t be responsible for Sherman’s $2.2MM prorated bonus, he’d still carry a hefty $11.431MM cap charge for 2017.

In addition to making room for Sherman under the cap, the Cowboys would have also had to part with a significant amount of draft capital in order to acquire him. At one point, the Seahawks’ asking price was reportedly a first-round pick in the 2017 and a conditional mid-rounder in 2018. That ask, understandably, was too rich for anyone’s blood.

A trade sending Sherman to Dallas was probably never going to happen, but the fact that he was picturing himself in a Cowboys jersey tells us that the trade talk was indeed serious. And, if Sherman and the Seahawks are unable to mend fences, his affinity for the Cowboys is something to keep in mind for next offseason. If Sherman declines, the Seahawks could release him and save $11MM while carrying just $2MM in dead money. If he continues to play like a top cornerback but is still at odds with the team, the Cowboys may have the cap flexibility to get something done.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Expect To Retain Richard Sherman

Less than two weeks ago, Seahawks general manager John Schneider wasn’t ready to rule out trading cornerback Richard Sherman. But with the draft having passed since then, it appears the team’s chance to deal the four-time Pro Bowler has gone by the wayside.

Richard Sherman (vertical)[RELATED: Earl Thomas On Track For Opener]

As a guest on the “Brock and Salk” show on 710 ESPN Seattle on Thursday, head coach Pete Carroll addressed the odds of a Sherman trade, saying (via Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com): “I don’t think anybody’s going to offer us anything that would make it worthwhile, because there’s no draft involved and all that kind of stuff. But that’s always out there. There’s always opportunities to trade. But the likelihood is like zero percent, it seems like. Teams don’t want to give up stuff. They don’t want to trade at times like this, and it’s really hard to navigate through a trade with experienced players during draft time. It just doesn’t happen very often.”

While Sherman and the Seahawks had mutual interest in parting ways earlier this spring, no one was willing to meet the club’s asking price (reportedly a first-round pick this year and a conditional mid-rounder in 2018). Now, there’s “no animosity at all” between the two sides, according to Carroll, who believes his relationship with the 29-year-old is “as good as it’s ever been.” To Carroll, shopping Sherman was an example of the Seahawks doing their due diligence.

“We don’t want to trade guys,” he said. “We want to keep our guys. But we have to in an effort to always work to be better and help our team. We’ve got to listen and all that. So we went through that process. There was very open conversation about that.”

Now that Sherman will return to helm the Legion of Boom again in 2017, Carroll noted that the Seahawks need “to continue to dig into [Sherman] and make sure that he’s really at the height of his game, intensity-wise.” Sherman wasn’t necessarily at the height of his game, performance-wise, in 2016, but he still served as a top-notch defender. In the fifth straight 16-start season of his career, the six-year veteran tallied four interceptions and 13 passes defensed, and ranked among Pro Football Focus’ 15 best corners.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks “Past” Richard Sherman Trade

When asked about a potential Richard Sherman trade, Seahawks GM John Schneider said “right now we’ve kind of moved past it,” as Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times tweets. However, he says would still consider a trade if a big offer comes his way. Richard Sherman (vertical)

[RELATED: Tyler Lockett Expects Camp Return]

Schneider’s latest comments perhaps send a stronger statement than last week when he said that “odds are” Sherman would be staying put. Sherman reportedly asked out of Seattle, but the team has been unable to oblige that request so far. After originally asking for a first-round pick plus a quality player, the Seahawks lowered the ask to a 2017 first-round pick and a conditional mid-round pick in 2018. Still, no one has met the sticker price.

Now, the two sides are effectively stuck with each other as the draft closes in. If Schneider and Sherman are to be believed, then that’s not necessarily a problem. Both men say that their relationship is in good standing, so things just might be drama free from here on out.

Sherman is under contract with Seattle through the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

John Schneider: “Odds Are” Seahawks Keep Richard Sherman

The Seahawks aren’t ruling out trading cornerback Richard Sherman, but “odds are” he’ll stay put, general manager John Schneider told 710 ESPN Radio on Thursday. If Sherman does return to the Seahawks for a seventh season, there’s unlikely to be any behind-the-scenes drama, as Schneider insists that “everything is fine” between the two sides (all Twitter links via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times).

Richard Sherman (vertical)

While Sherman reportedly requested a trade, Schneider indicated that shopping him is a mutual decision based on “constant communication” with the corner. Asked why the Seahawks would deal Sherman, a three-time first-team All-Pro, Schneider reasoned that doing so would enable the club “to create cap room” and “become a younger football team.” Sherman is set to play his age-29 season in 2017, in which he’s due to earn an $11.4MM-plus base salary and count over $13.6MM against the cap. He’s under contract for similar numbers ($11MM and $13.2MM) in 2018, the final year of his deal.

Despite Sherman’s age and expensive price tag, the Seahawks are reportedly seeking a first-round pick in this year’s draft and a conditional mid-rounder in 2018 for him. They’re not out of line to place a high asking price on Sherman, of course, as the playmaker has never missed a game and is coming off his sixth straight 16-start season. Sherman picked off four passes in 2016, giving him 30 for his career, and ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 13th-best corner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Rumors: Hawks, Sherman, 49ers

Although Richard Sherman doesn’t plan to attend the start of Seahawks workouts today, he is expected to report before OTAs, meaning he’ll be in attendance in early or mid May, according to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com (Twitter link). Sherman, of course, reportedly asked for a trade, and Seattle is now attempting to oblige him. After originally setting an ask of a first-round pick and another player, the Seahawks have reduced the Sherman price to a 2017 first-round pick and a conditional mid-round pick in 2018.

Here’s more from Seattle and the rest of the NFC West:

  • Before inking Seahawks restricted free agent Garry Gilliam to a one-year, $2.2MM deal, the 49ers approached Gilliam with two- and three-year offers, both of which were rejected, reports Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. By agreeing to a one-year commitment, Gilliam affords himself the possibility of reaching unrestricted free agency in 2018. Seattle had the option of matching San Francisco’s offer sheet, and though the Seahawks had five days to make a decision, they used just over 12 hours to turn down the terms. Gilliam will earn $1.4MM in guarantees under his new 49ers pact, while his RFA tender with Seattle would have paid him $1.797MM in non-guaranteed base salary.
  • Defensive end Dion Jordan‘s one-year contract with the Seahawks is worth only $615K, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. The deal comes with a $25K workout bonus, but doesn’t contain any guarantees, meaning Seattle can move on without any dead money incurring on its salary cap. Additionally, Jordan agreed to a split salary: if he gets injured, the Seahawks will owe him only $378K. If Jordan does succeed this season, Seattle can keep him for 2018 as a restricted free agent. Because he entered the league as first-round pick, the Seahawks could use the original round tender to retain Jordan without worrying about another club signing him to an offer sheet.
  • Collegiate basketball player and aspiring tight end Mo Alie-Cox is scheduled to meet with the Seahawks today, tweets Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, who adds Alie-Cox has a visit lined up with the Colts on Monday. 30 NFL clubs attended a recent Alie-Cox audition, and teams are now hoping to sign the 6’7″ hoopster to play offense. Alie-Cox is not eligible for the draft, and is able to sign an NFL contract immediately.

Marshawn Lynch Begins Reinstatement Process

Marshawn Lynch has begun the process of reinstatement, Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets. The Seahawks running back is hoping to play for Raiders, of course, but Werder suggests that he could be interested in teaming with Richard Sherman elsewhere if the star Seahawks cornerback is traded. NFL: Super Bowl XLVIII-Seattle Seahawks Parade

[RELATED: Marshawn Lynch Interested In Patriots]

Lynch would carry a $9MM cap hit for Seattle if reinstated and the team simply cannot afford him at that rate. The Seahawks also don’t really need Lynch from a football perspective after signing Eddie Lacy in free agency this offseason. Once Lynch formally returns to football, the team will be forced to trade or release him, which could pave the way for his long-expected union with the Raiders.

For a long time, it was Raiders-or-bust for Beast Mode, but he’s at least considering other options if he cannot work things out with Oakland. Lynch has interest in joining up with the Patriots and he’s now reportedly daydreaming about following Sherman out of Seattle. The Raiders are still the odds-on favorites to land Lynch, but it’s certainly a situation worth monitoring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Drop Richard Sherman Price

Last week, Seahawks were telling teams that they would only part with Richard Sherman in exchange for “a very good player” plus a high draft pick, according to Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald. Already, it seems that asking price has dropped a bit. The Seahawks are now looking for a first-round pick in the upcoming draft plus a conditional mid-round choice in 2018, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com.

For what it’s worth, Garafolo (Twitter link) says the asking price has always been a first-round pick plus a future mid-round choice. But, Salguero has a history of rock solid reporting and, with that in mind, it appears there has been a reduction in Seattle’s ask.Richard Sherman (vertical)

As former NFL executive Joe Banner suggested recently, Garafolo says the Darrelle Revis trade of 2013 could give us an idea of the kind of return that would come in a Sherman deal. The Jets received a first-round pick in 2013 and a fourth-round pick in 2014 in exchange for Revis, which is right in line with what Seattle is now asking for. That fourth-round pick was a conditional choice that would have blossomed into a third-round selection if Revis remained on the roster on the third day of the 2014 league year.

Either the market for Sherman isn’t quite as strong as the Seahawks anticipated or the Seahawks were intentionally setting an inflated sticker price to begin the sweepstakes. Now, one has to wonder if the Seahawks will be willing to take even less than the Revis package as we get closer to the draft.

If the Seahawks do not find a suitable deal for Sherman, they may have to work on mending some fences with their star cornerback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Sherman, Saints, 49ers, Falcons

No NFLer has come up in more trade rumors this month than Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, but it’s likely he’ll stay put, writes Tom Pelissero of USA Today. It would take something along the lines of a first- and third-round pick to acquire Sherman, and that price probably isn’t going to come down, Pelissero hears. Plus, even though Sherman requested a trade, the relationship between him and the Seahawks is hardly in shambles. Sherman is content to continue his career in Seattle, and the team would have no problem retaining the four-time Pro Bowler, per Pelissero.

More from the NFC:

  • Next season stands as the final year of Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro‘s rookie contract, meaning it could could be his last hurrah in New Orleans. However, he’d rather ink an extension with the Saints than test free agency next spring. “I want to play for the Saints. I love the team,” Vaccaro told Nick Underhill of The Advocate. “I love coach (Sean) Payton. Coach Payton is going to be here. We got a good young team. I think we’re a couple of pieces away from getting to back to where we were my rookie year. I don’t want to leave that. The grass isn’t always greener.” Vaccaro isn’t “pressing” for a deal, but he does expect the Saints to enter negotiations with him “after all the offseason stuff” is out of the way. The 27-year-old has been a strong contributor to the Saints’ defense since going 15th overall in the 2013 draft, though he is coming off a suspension-shortened season.
  • With Vaccaro’s future in New Orleans uncertain, the Saints had UConn safety Obi Melifonwu in for an official visit Monday, which Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball first reported (Twitter link). Melifonwu is the 45th-best prospect in this year’s draft class, opines Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com. The four-year starter “has a rare blend of size and speed for the position,” notes Jeremiah.
  • Cornerback Tramaine Brock was arrested on suspicion of felony domestic violence Thursday, and the 49ers released him Friday. Rookie head coach Kyle Shanahan addressed that decision Monday, saying (via Cam Inman of the Mercury News): “We spent the day trying to figure out all the information as much as you can. You never do get all of it, but there was enough there that we felt it was a decision we had to make and move on from (Brock).” The 49ers cut the eight-year veteran with a “failed physical” designation, according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area (Twitter link).
  • Falcons corner Desmond Trufant will earn nearly half of the money in his five-year, $68.75MM extension by next March, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Trufant is due $33MM over the next 11 months, and he’ll average $14.75MM per annum during the first three years of the deal.

Extra Points: Chargers, Steelers, Osweiler

Some assorted notes from around the NFL on this Sunday evening…

  • Chargers general manager Tom Telesco and his staff have been preparing for the upcoming draft for more than a year, and ESPN.com’s Eric D. Williams writes that they were prepping with former defensive coordinator John Pagano’s system in mind. However, despite the addition of head coach Anthony Lynn and new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Telesco says the team’s plans haven’t been disrupted.
  • The Chargers acquiring Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman “makes too much sense to ever happen,” writes Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Besides Sherman’s connection with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, Florio notes that the California native’s temperament would benefit a team that’s seeking “a dynamic personality.” The writer wonders if the Chargers’ 38th-overall pick would be of any interest to Seattle.
  • Now that Lawrence Timmons has departed the Steelers for Miami, Vince Williams projects to start at inside linebacker for Pittsburgh alongside Ryan Shazier. Of course, the Steelers did pursue Dont’a Hightower in free agency, and as Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes, the team’s draft strategy will say a lot about Williams’ future with the club. If the Steelers select an inside linebacker in the first three rounds of the draft — and this year’s class of inside linebackers is very thin — then that would suggest that their faith in Williams is rather shaky.
  • Nothing has changed on the Brock Osweiler front. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says the Browns will continue to look to trade Osweiler over draft weekend, and if they cannot find a taker, they will continue to pursue a trade over the coming months. Otherwise, they will simply cut him. Cabot believes the team will still try to add a veteran that can start for them in 2017, and if Osweiler is still on the roster when the regular season rolls around, it will be because they failed to find someone they like better.

Rory Parks contributed to this post.