It would seem unthinkable for the Seahawks to trade Richard Sherman, one of the best cornerbacks in all of football. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler, a three-time first-team All-Pro, and the definition of a shutdown corner. However, general manager John Schneider made it clear the Seahawks would be open to dealing Sherman, and the rumors of a deal are “real.”
If Seattle were to trade him, which teams would be potential suitors? There are probably 25 teams out there that would love to have him in their secondary, but only a handful actually make sense. These six teams should attempt to land the stud cornerback.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints have made it abundantly clear that they’re going to add a cornerback one way or another. Heck, they’ll probably add a few players at that position from now until the start of the season. Malcolm Butler is an obvious target of theirs, but it’ll likely take the 32nd pick to land him, as well as a lucrative extension.
If they’re willing to part with the last pick in the first round – which came via the Brandin Cooks trade – why not use it to land Sherman? The Saints desperately need help at cornerback with Delvin Breaux holding down one spot, but he’s more of a No. 2 than a No. 1 guy.
Sherman would give the Saints the playmaker they so badly need, having ranked 27th or worse in yards allowed the past three seasons.
Getty ImagesSean Gardner
The Eagles have been working to improve their secondary for a few years now, from signing Byron Maxwell to drafting Eric Rowe two years ago. They still haven’t found a mix that works, but adding Sherman would fix a lot of their problems in the secondary.
Jim Schwartz likes to have his players man up and play Cover 2 man, putting two safeties over the top of his cornerbacks. That’s not ideal for Sherman’s style of play, but with a secondary that’s in need of reworking, changing the scheme shouldn’t be too difficult.
The NFC East is loaded with wide receivers now, from Dez Bryant to Odell Beckham Jr., and the Eagles desperately need a cornerback who can match up with those guys. They haven’t had one in several years.
Of all the teams on this list, the Titans might have the most firepower to land Sherman. They have two first-round picks and more than $38 million in cap space, which gives them more than enough ammunition to work out a trade. Add that to the fact that Tennessee’s secondary was abysmal in 2016 and the connection is obvious.
The Titans would elevate their defense dramatically by acquiring Sherman, giving them two great cornerbacks with him and Logan Ryan. They also added Johnathan Cyprien, so the secondary is already on the rise. Sherman would simply put them over the top by completely shutting down one side of the field.
Jim Brown-USA TODAY SportsJim Brown
The Cowboys lost two of their starting cornerbacks this offseason, so there’s a clear need at that position. Sherman would fit perfectly in what the Cowboys do defensively, too, playing left cornerback in their Cover 3-heavy scheme. It would allow Sherman to play a similar role to the one he’s currently playing in Seattle, which is huge.
Where a hurdle comes into play is with Dallas’ cap situation. The Cowboys have hardly any space to add players, but when Tony Romo comes off the books on June 2, they’ll add $14 million to spend. With Sherman’s cap hit being $13.6 million in 2017, the Cowboys would make it work, although they’d need to do some finagling to get their draft class under the cap.
With guys like Terrelle Pryor, Alshon Jeffery and Odell Beckham Jr. all in the NFC East, Dallas could use a shutdown corner like Sherman. He’d fit well with Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown.
The Raiders landed a big-name free agent in Sean Smith last offseason, but he didn’t exactly pan out. They allowed the ninth-most passing yards in 2016, which obviously isn’t great, but Sherman would alleviate the concerns they have in the secondary.
Although the Raiders like to play man coverage, and did so often in 2016, Sherman is a player worth changing your scheme for. They can still play single-high safety, but using zone coverage – specifically Cover 3 – would best suit Sherman’s skill set.
He could take away one half of the field and force quarterbacks to throw elsewhere, making the jobs of Smith and David Amerson much easier. With Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin coming off the edge, quarterbacks would have a hard time finding openings in Oakland’s defense.
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New England Patriots
The Patriots already lost one starting cornerback this offseason, and they could be shipping another out of New England. With Logan Ryan signing with the Titans and Malcolm Butler potentially being traded to the Saints, the Patriots could be looking for another cornerback.
Yes, Stephon Gilmore was their big free-agent signing, but they need a running mate to play on the other side. Sherman would be perfect, similar to the way the Patriots brought in Darrelle Revis a few years ago.
The Patriots play a hybrid scheme, from 3-4 to 4-3 fronts, and plenty of variations of Cover 2 and Cover 3. They mix in man coverage as well, but you can bet Belichick and Matt Patricia would scheme their defense to fit Sherman’s style.
The only issue is that the Patriots don’t have a first- or second-round pick, so a trade involving Jimmy Garoppolo or Butler would have to happen first.