The Seahawks are not going to trade Richard Sherman this offseason.
And this from Gee Scott of the team’s flagship radio station, 710-AM in Seattle: Scott said Sherman told him on Thursday that he doesn’t want to be traded.
Now that we got that out of the way, what to make of Pete Carroll not being so unequivocal talking about his three-time All-Pro cornerback and franchise cornerstone this week at the NFL owners meetings?
Why did the coach pull back the curtain on the team’s daily business a bit to reveal in Phoenix teams have called “so we have talked about” the possibility of trading Sherman?
Carroll and the Seahawks want Sherman to not be so “self-inflicted” this year.
Asked Wednesday by reporters in Arizona about the rumor Seattle could trade Sherman if the team found the right price, Carroll could have answered 10 different ways than he did.
Here’s one obvious way: “Richard Sherman is a bedrock of this team. We want him to be a Seahawk for life.”
Instead, what Carroll said made it clear Sherman, for all he’s done and been and still is for the defense and this perennial playoff team, is not untouchable. Nor infallible.
Not after what happened last season.
“You either are competing or you are not,” Carroll told reporters in Phoenix at the league’s breakfast with NFC coaches. “So we have always had to be open to every suggestion that comes along. here have been some teams that have called, and so we have talked about it. But he is extremely important to our football team. I don’t see anything happening, at all.”
A notable lack of door-slamming on the whole trade idea. Even a Seattle rap icon noticed.
Carroll went on to tell reporters in Arizona: "Richard went through a lot last year, and most of it self-inflicted.”
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 threatened then refused to speak to local media members by season’s end. And, Carroll revealed after last season, Sherman played through a sprained knee ligament.
"He got out there and I think he was in the midst of a season that was really challenging for him,” Carroll said. “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.”
Carroll isn’t just letting something slip to reveal the inner workings and feelings of the team with its superstar -- just like he wasn’t accidentally spilling beans about Sherman’s knee injury when he mentioned it for the first time two days after the season ended, to cover for Sherman’s tumultuous 2016.
No, Carroll is purposefully letting not just Sherman but everyone know the coach and the Seahawks didn’t appreciate those “self-inflicted” distractions throughout last season.
Carroll wants Sherman to go back to being the anchoring left cornerback for the Seahawks this year, for the seventh consecutive season. The coach who champions individuality and personality with his players -- remember this, from Christmastime? -- is 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.
Just the pre-2016 Sherman.
“He’s a fantastic battler. The only thing that happened is that he didn’t come back. He didn’t re-set as he has,” Carroll told reporters in Phoenix. “He always found his way to reset, and he kind of stayed on the edge throughout (last) season, which was very challenging for him That’s a lot to carry. He’s a very capable guy at dealing with all of the issues that the league brings and offers for guys and he’s a guy that is always going to be out in front, which is where he should be. He’s an extraordinary football player and an exceptional young man. It just was a challenge.”
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.
That’s why the top line above says he’s not going anywhere this offseason.
With all else they said at the owners meetings-- they have told Germain Ifedi they are considering moving him from right guard to right tackle; Earl Thomas and Tyler Lockett should be back from broken legs for the start of the season, but maybe not full go until or after the start of training camp; they have no idea what Marshawn Lynch is going to do next, as usual -- what Carroll told Sherman through his comments may prove to trigger the most noticeable Seahawks change this year.
That appears to be the clear idea behind what the coach said, anyway.
"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.”