Instead of two-time All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles coming and going from his free-agent visit without a new Seattle contract, instead of the visits of free-agent linebackers Ricky Jean-Francois and Dekota Watson, all of which actually happened, it was pure conjection that got the most attention concerning the Seahawks on Thursday.
Former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi -- I covered him in the early 2000s when he was Oakland’s general manager under the thumb of Al Davis and I was a Raiders beat writer, by the way -- has a podcast now. I only know that because of the attention it got Thursday and was still getting Friday, for Lombardi saying on it: “I truly believe, based on what I am hearing around the National Football League, that the Seahawks would, in fact, for the right deal trade Richard Sherman.”
You can start listening at the 2:35 mark below for the context of Lombardi talking about the New Orleans Saints being better off calling the Seahawks than trying to acquire cornerback Malcolm Butler -- yes, that Malcolm Butler -- from the New England Patriots.
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We won’t go on and on about this and give it more time than it warrants. It will suffice to say this:
Sure, any team in the NFL would, in fact, “for the right deal,” be open to perhaps trading any player. If Jerry Jones called the Seahawks and offered his entire Dallas Cowboys starting offensive line for Sherman, sure, Seattle would listen.
That doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.
It also doesn’t mean that because a former NFL GM opines conjecture of a hypothetical on what he’s hearing “around the National Football League” we all need to react.
For the record, as reported here March 1, Seahawks GM John Schneider said at the NFL combine the three-time All-Pro cornerback’s future remains strong. He is a foundation to the franchise.
No, Schneider made clear, Sherman’s off-field distractions in 2016 of berating coaches on the sideline and his ongoing feud with the Seattle-area media are not affecting his place or future as a team fixture.
“No. He’s an elite player,” Schneider said of Sherman’s eventful 2016 season. “I mean, you know, I think everybody has bad days. Congratulations if you don’t.
“But, no, we love him. He’s an elite player.”
Where does this stuff like Thursday’s from “what I’m hearing around the National Football League” come from?
Other teams’ executives -- or agents, or friends of a friend who knows a friend who says he knows -- may be whispering how there is no way they would put up with what Sherman did last season.
Here’s the deal.
First, such speculation has occurred on bar stools and around water coolers for, oh, about a century. But in this century, everyone has a blog that is an internet connection away from entering national discussion. Rumors that used to float through in air inside a bar or office now land in print somewhere. Someone with eyes, time and good wifi finds it and -- boom! -- it becomes “news.” Especially in the seven months between the Super Bowl and the start of an NFL regular season.
Second, such talk about Sherman come far outside the dynamics of the Seahawks’ locker room. They don’t consider how coach Pete Carroll and the team handled the situation internally during last season. Heck, the only reason the Seahawks got in sticky rice with the league for not reporting Sherman’s knee injury last season was because brought it up two days after the season ended as something of a cover or alibi for Sherman, for his, um, unorthodox, 2016 season.
This talk don’t calculate how, assuredly, what Sherman did on the sidelines and with the media was not nearly as big a deal to teammates as it may have been to you, me and everyone outside the team facility.
But if Atlanta was to offer, say, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan plus its starting tight ends and an offensive lineman or three, sure, the Seahawks could become open to trading Sherman.