Managing the worst case scenario in the Sherman issue

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Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) intercepts a pass during the third quarter in a game against the Buffalo Bills at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Can the Seahawks win it all without him? Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

We’re down to the last 17 days before the 2017 NFL Draft and as each day grows closer to the draft, the Seahawks have to be considering all scenarios. What is the worst case scenario in the Sherman issue (besides having half of the best players on the team walking out if they decide to deal Sherman)? A holdout is probably the worst case scenario because it’s like having a Maserati sitting in the garage and you cannot drive it.

We saw what a holdout of one of our best guys on the team did to the morale of the entire squad two seasons ago, when Kam decided he didn’t want to play in the first quarter of the 2015 season. A Sherman holdout is possibly even worse because of how much he means not only in the locker room, but on the field. John Clayton believes that the Seahawks are only a 9 win team without Sherman playing, which may or may not get them into the playoffs next year.

So, let’s say the Seahawks deal Sherman to Oakland as I wrote in this article. I think I laid out what that deal looks like and what the implications are (salary cap, etc.) in an understandable manner. Yet, what if the Seahawks decide to not take on any other cap dollars in veteran players that are not a free agent? This means that the Seahawks would rather start over in their pursuit to compile the Legion of Boom 2.0, or for now the Legion of Boom 1.5.


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How would the Seahawks manage to pull off rebuilding their backend of their defense and still think they could contend for a Superbowl? The New England Patriots showed everyone that even if you don’t have your number one quarterback for the first quarter of the season, and with a bunch (and I mean a bunch) of no namers starting for their squad, they could still not only get to the big game but win it all.

So how would Seattle do this? Be a contender and rebuild their LOB? It’s not farfetched that they are considering rebuilding the backend of their team. I mean cousin Earl is coming off a major injury and has already tweeted that he wants to retire. Kam is also coming off a down season and in my opinion is worried about his long-term health because of the booming hits he’s given over the seasons. It’s possible he along with cousin Earl decide it’s time to hang ‘em up at the same time.

To get the best of both worlds, (contending for a world championship and rebuild) here’s what I’d do:

  • Trade Sherman and receive back a mid-term veteran and a high draft pick. Or deal Sherm and get two 2017 high round draft picks (a one and a two or a one and a three or because this year’s cornerback depth is so good, a two and a three could work).
  • Sign mid-quality cornerbacks (we would need at least two) from the free agency bucket.
  • Draft two to three more high quality defensive backs in the 2017 draft.

Let’s say that the first thing happened and Sherm is in Cleveland, Nashville, or another cap rich team that is not in the NFC.

Which two free agent cornerbacks that are sitting at home knitting waiting for their iPhone 7s to ring that could join the Legion of Booom in 2017? Darrelle Revis? He could be had for a mid-grade cap cost (say $5m-$7m) and although he is claiming he is very healthy going forward, his 2016 numbers weren’t that healthy. He recorded 53 tackles, one interception and had a pass defense rating that was un-Revis Island like at 182nd ranked. I use pass defense as a key performance indicator because it tells us that the defender either broke up a pass, or got to the receiver as the ball arrived. In order to have a chance at a momentum changing interception or pick six, a great defensive back has to be available to be around the football. Sherman, for example ranked 21st. DeShawn Shead for being the 2nd and probably least spoken about defensive back on the team, ranked 14th.

Another intriguing defensive back that is sitting at home right now is former Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields. The 5’11” Shields had an injury plagued 2016 and didn’t play much, but when you look at his 2015 numbers, he would be an upgrade at corner over the current backs that are on the depth chart not named Sherman or Shead. In 2015, Shields had 39 tackles, three interceptions and ranked in the top 25 in passes defensed.

Another addition to the team, which would be way more controversial player that we could at least kick the tires on (and wait for the legal items to become final) is Tramaine Brock. The 29-year-old was released from the 49ers last week; standing at only 5’10”, Brock put together a fine 2016 recording 59 tackles and ranking 17th in passes defensed as well as one forced fumble and one interception. Brock was arrested for a domestic violence incident and new 49er general manager John Lynch wasn’t going to wait for the legal process to commence; he just dropped him like a bad habit. You never know, especially in domestic violence cases, strange things happen and just like that the case is dropped. Would Carroll and company want someone like Brock on their team? Would we 12s want him here? We were okay with (or moreover we trusted Schneider and Carroll) Perrish Cox on our team and his legal issues. Boykin is still on the team despite his recent run-in with the law. Brock would be a big upgrade as well and can step right in and play for Shead or the (perhaps) newly departed Sherman.

Other names to watch that are not free agents and are still on this squad include the aforementioned Perrish Cox. Cox played in only 11 games in 2016 for the Titans and recorded 42 tackles and ranked 40th in pass defensed. The 6’0” 30-year-old could also compete for Shead’s spot to start the season.

Thorpe, Elliot and Desir are also three names to watch. Can one or more of these guys be coached up enough to fill in for Sherman or Shead? Remember when we didn’t know who Sherm or Shead were and pundits like me kept saying that they had a high ceiling? I have a feeling about one or more of these guys going forward. If we give them the keys to the car, could they win the gold medal for Coach Carroll? We’ll see.

Finally, the NFL Draft is in less than three weeks away; as Mel Kiper says that there are about 30 to 35 corners that could be playing in the league this year. The Seahawks brass know this (so does Sherm, by the way), and will be looking under every rock to provide the necessary depth at corner. Should Schneider swing for the fences with a Sherman-less defense and go defensive back with their first and second round pick (if we got an additional second rounder for Sherm) then they could still draft for offensive line or pass rush (or best available).

Who would they draft? I am not going to ever forecast who the ‘Hawks will draft because at the end of the day they always, ALWAYS, surprise us. I trust that the ones who drafted Sherman in the first place could draft another guy that with repetitions could become another Sherm or better.

All I know is that the worst case scenario is my biggest fear. I don’t want Sherm sitting at home because his pride or the Seahawks’ business culture got in the way. I am very positive that the Seahawks brass have their options on the big whiteboard and are going to make the best decisions with the information they have available. Either way, as each day grows closer to the draft, I get a bit nervous. I don’t want to see Sherm go, but I feel that it’s inevitable (either this year or next).

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