RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks have locked up another defensive cornerstone.
Cornerback Richard Sherman and the Seahawks agreed to a four-year deal Wednesday that will make Sherman the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. The loquacious cornerback announced on his own website that it's a four-year deal with $40 million guaranteed, and $57.4 million in total. Sherman's salary will exceed the $12 million Darrelle Revis is making in New England this season. The extension comes in the wake of Seattle's deal with Earl Thomas, and it keeps both players in the fold through the 2018 season.
"I'm sure you've all heard about Richard's start -- fifth-round draft choice, and I think if you believe in faith, hard work, parental guidance and education, this is your guy for your kids to look up to and strive to be," general manager John Schneider said at the press conference announcing the deal. "This is a guy who has worked his tail off to be where he is right now."
"This is a great moment -- for the family, for Richard, for the club," head coach Pete Carroll added. "But it's also a statement about a young man who displayed an extraordinary belief in and dedication to himself. To be a nerd in high school, back in the Dominguez days, where he was a track star and a football player, he was always in the classroom working on his stuff. He had a real vision of what he could become, and to see it come all the way through to this day today -- it's a new beginning for Richard and his career. This guy is really special."
In 2013, Sherman enjoyed one of the best cornerback seasons in recent NFL history -- he was targeted just 58 times on 549 passing snaps, allowing 30 receptions for 421 yards and two touchdowns. He balanced that with eight interceptions. In the Seahawks' postseason, Sherman was targeted seven times in 116 snaps, allowing just two receptions for 10 yards.
Not bad for a guy who switched from receiver to cornerback at Stanford, and was a minimally recruited athlete at Dominguez High in Compton, Calif. Sherman will readily list off the 23 cornerbacks taken before him in the 2011 draft if asked, and he insisted on Wednesday that he will not lose his edge despite the guaranteed money.
"It's just as big," he said of the chip on his shoulder. "There were still 23 people picked ahead of me. That didn't change. $40 million didn't erase that, and nothing will erase that. Nothing will erase that mentality, and that's something I'll always keep. It keeps me hungry, it keeps me attacking and it keeps me angry."
When I asked him what's left to work on with his overall game, Sherman had quite the laundry list.
“There’s more picks to get. I dropped about five of them last year so I have to catch more. I missed a few tackles so that’s always an area of emphasis being able to be more involved in the run game, play recognition, and just the off technique when people are in nasty splits. It's always something that we have to stay focused on, because that’s how teams are going to attack us these days.”
Sherman was set to earn $1.389 million in 2014 before hitting the open market next offseason.
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