The offensive line isn’t the only aspect of the Seahawks that Pete Carroll wants to change in 2017.
Richard Sherman’s experience is another.
Seattle’s coach told reporters on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix that the Hawks have fielded calls from teams — plural — regarding Richard Sherman’s availability amid a rumor about the Seahawks being open to trading him for the right price. Why? Because, as Seahawks general manager John Schneider said on Tuesday in Arizona, the team listens to everything.
But the coach doesn’t expect anything to happen — except Sherman remaining Seattle’s starting Pro Bowl cornerback.
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“There have been some teams that have called, and so we have talked about it,” Carroll told reporters Wednesday morning. “But he is extremely important to our football team. I don’t see anything happening, at all.”
What Carroll does expect is for his three-time All-Pro cornerback to have a 2017 that is far less tumultuous than his 2016.
Sherman shouted at defensive coordinator Kris Richard after a coverage foul-up during an October win over Atlanta. He shouted on the same Seahawks sideline at Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell over play calling during a December win over Los Angeles. He refused to speak to local media members by season’s end. And he played through a sprained knee ligament.
“Richard went through a lot last year,” Carroll said, “and most of it self-inflicted.
“He got out there and I think he was in the midst of a season that was really challenging for him. If you remember when he had his issue, it was right in the midst of playing some great players week after week after week and he was teed up for it and jacked about it and all of that, and he was competing like crazy.”
The Seahawks are entrenched in their plan of him being a franchise cornerstone. Sherman has two seasons and $22.431 million in base pay remaining on the contract extension he signed in May 2014.
They just want their cornerstone to be more leveled, less jagged.
“I’m anxious to see him come back,” Carroll said. “I know there have been some issues and stuff. I’m anxious to see him handle everything and do really well and represent himself and his teammates in great fashion.’’
Carroll also reiterated what he and the team have been saying for months: The Seahawks would “love” to get a contract extension done with safety Kam Chancellor. That would preferably be before the season begins in September.
The coach has talked in the last week or 10 days to Marshawn Lynch. Carroll said the running back is “somewhat entertaining” the thought of returning from retirement to play this year. But the coach is like everyone else, including Lynch’s agent: without insight or knowledge of what Lynch will do.
“I have talked to him,” Carroll said, “and I haven’t gotten any indication.”
The coach then chuckled, knowing being in the dark of Lynch’s thoughts and actions is nothing new.
Whatever Lynch does or doesn’t do in 2017, it won’t be with the Seahawks.
As for that O-line, it will remain the team’s biggest issue all year, as it was last. Carroll said the Seahawks are going to have recently signed Luke Joeckel start out at left tackle this preseason with George Fant possibly learning behind him. Carroll said he knows Joeckel can also play left guard, as he did last season for five games with Jacksonville before a season-ending knee injury.
Carroll said the Seahawks are going to have Oday Aboushi beginning at right guard — and that they have talked to Germain Ifedi about moving from his 2016 starting position of right guard to right tackle. Ifedi played right tackle in college.
Carroll’s outline jibes with what Schneider said in Arizona on Tuesday. But the coach went further. He raised the possibility Fant takes a step backward after starting last year as an undrafted rookie. Carroll also confirmed that Ifedi was “excited” for the chance to play tackle again.
Garry Gilliam has started the last two seasons there. Gilliam signed a one-year tender offer as a restricted free agent this month for $1,797,000. None of that is guaranteed; if he doesn’t beat out Ifedi at right tackle, the team could release Gilliam at no cost.
The Seahawks would love for one of the top college tackles — such as Alabama’s Cam Robinson, Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk or Utah’s Garett Bolles — to be available for them while picking at No. 26 in the first round of next month’s draft. Pending that, Seattle has this sketch of a depth chart for minicamps in May and June:
▪ Joeckel and Fant 1-2 at left tackle.
▪ Returning starter Mark Glowinski competing with 2016 draft pick Rees Odhiambo at left guard.
▪ Incumbent Justin Britt and 2015 pick Joey Hunt at center.
▪ Aboushi and Odhiambo at right guard.
▪ Ifedi competing with Gilliam at right tackle.
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle