Curiously, the Seahawks are keeping the Richard Sherman trade-talk train going.
Seattle’s general manager used the opportunity of a radio interview Wednesday on the team’s flagship station KIRO 710 AM to say news and rumors of the Seahawks fielding trade offers for their three-time All-Pro cornerback are “real.”
“There’s very much an openness. What you’ve seen lately in the news is real,” John Schneider told hosts “Brock and Salk” in comments that aired Wednesday morning. “That’s on both sides.”
Asked about Sherman’s fiery 2016 on the sidelines with coaches during games and with the local media by last season’s end, Schneider said: “It’s just open communication. He knows what’s going on. We know what’s going on.
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“I don’t know if anything would ever happen,” Schneider said. “But like I tell people all the time, 98 percent of the deals that we’re involved with we don’t follow through with. But at least we’ve opened that door, gone down the road and seen what’s behind Door A or Door B.”
Schneider was on 710 AM Wednesday with his wife Traci to discuss their Ben’s Fund, the charity they started in 2012 committed to “helping children with Autism reach their full potential.” Their son Ben is autistic.
But of course the GM got asked about Sherman’s situation.
It became clear last week with comments from Schneider and Carroll at the owners meetings that Seattle’s franchise cornerstone since he emerged as a starter in October 2011 during his rookie season as a fifth-round draft choice from Stanford is not untouchable in the Seahawks’ trade conversation.
Sherman’s not infallible in the team’s view, either.
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 coach Pete 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, Carroll revealed after last season, Sherman played through a sprained knee ligament.
"Richard went through a lot last year," Carroll said at the owners meetings in Phoenix, "and most of it self-inflicted.”
Saying “we are not going to BS each other,” Schneider told 710 AM Wednesday the Seahawks have been up front and open with Sherman about listening to these trade offers. The GM said such inquiries began in earnest at the league’s annual scouting combine in Indianapolis over the first days of March.
The Super Bowl-champion New England Patriots were reportedly one of the teams that asked Seattle about possibly acquiring Sherman.
On Wednesday, Jeff Howe, Patriots beat writer for the Boston Globe, reported New England has “some interest in Sherman, per source, but wouldn't be expected to be on full pursuit unless they lose (starting cornerback) Malcolm Butler.”
“Absolutely. This isn’t a secret like this just came out of nowhere,” Schneider said told 710 AM. “People find things out and we’re not going to lie to each other and we’re not going to BS each other. It’s going to be all laid out. And like I said, that doesn’t happen everywhere. We have open lines of communication between our coaching staff and our player personnel staff. It goes through player development, it goes through our sports science group.
“There’s a lot going on there.”
Indeed there is.
For one, there’s the now-clear question of, if Sherman’s not untouchable, who on the Seahawks is?
Well, $87.6 million quarterback Russell Wilson, three-time All-Pro safety and team soul Earl Thomas. And that’s apparently about it.
Why are the Seahawks being so transparent about listening to offers for Sherman?
It’s not that they would trade him this offseason. Schneider’s “I don’t know if anything would ever happen” on the radio Wednesday repeated what Carroll said last week at the owners meetings. They seem to be almost begging for the Dallas Cowboys to offer their entire offensive line for Sherman, or something.
It’s almost as if Sherman doesn’t mind being shopped so openly, if the Seahawks are indeed communicating with him about all this. And there is no reason to believe they are doing or saying any of this behind his back.
At a minimum, the Seahawks want a change. They want 2017 to be far less tumultuous for and from their megastar than 2016 was.
Carroll and Schneider want Sherman to go back to being the anchoring left cornerback for the Seahawks this year, for the seventh consecutive season. The coach and GM who champion individuality and personality with his players -- remember this, from Christmastime? -- are fine with that colorful side of Sherman.
But no more berating coaches in front of 70,000 fans and a national-television audiences. No bringing up the most infamous play call in Seattle history as a unforgivable blunder anymore. No feuding with the local media.
Then there’s this: The proven adage with championship teams, one that is en vogue now with Bill Belichick’s reign over the Patriots and dates to before Al Davis shipped out title-winning quarterback Kenny Stabler from the Oakland Raiders to Houston in 1980: Better to get rid of expensive, star players a year too early than a year too late.
Sherman has two seasons and $22,431,000 in base pay remaining on his contract extension he signed in May 2014 with the only NFL team he’s known. All $11,431,000 of his base pay for this year is guaranteed.
But in 2018 he’ll be entering the final year of his deal. He’ll be 30. His $11 million salary next year is not guaranteed. His dead money against Seattle’s salary cap, should he no longer be on its roster, goes from $15.8 million this year to just $2.2 million in 2018.
Last week Sherman told 710 AM’s Gee Scott he wouldn’t want to leave the Seahawks and his great friends on the team, and the city -- but added “I understand it’s a business.”
These continued comments from Schneider and Carroll prove that.