It's one thing for a team to give an NFL free agent a call about their services, but it's a completely different animal when it's Tom Brady making the call.
"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady reached out," new Bucs cornerback Richard Sherman recently said on his podcast, The Richard Sherman Podcast. "It's the all-time great quarterback reaching out. Anytime he makes that call, it's a very difficult opportunity to pass up.
"Once he calls, it’s like you better come or you’re going to regret not coming."
Even Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians knows the deal.
"I think when you want to talk about a veteran player and you want to win a championship and Tom calls you, you're going to listen," said Arians. "He's going to listen to him, especially knowing the roster we have. I think there's probably a bunch of veterans out there wishing he'd call them."
Sherman wasn't lying about the difficulty of passing up an opportunity to play with the defending Super Bowl champs. And as they say, actions speak louder than words: Sherman signed with the Buccaneers on Wednesday.
"I went with the best offer I had. The best opportunity [I had] to go out there and put some great tape on, to lead another group," Sherman explained. "I feel comfortable and confident in my abilities to go up there and execute and help that team win.
"This was an opportunity I couldn't pass up."
The former Seattle Seahawk and San Francisco 49er arrives in Tampa Bay during a time of need. The Bucs secondary is currently down two of their top-3 corners. Sean Murphy-Bunting, the team's starting outside corner and nickelback, is going to be out for the foreseeable future and Jamel Dean, the team's outside corner when the Bucs are in their subpackages, hurt his knee against the Rams in Week 3 and is questionable for this week's matchup with the Patriots.
He immediately adds not just a veteran presence, but a resume filled with production. Sherman's abilities in zone coverage are still among the league's best despite his age. The tape and the numbers back it up.
Per Pro Football Focus, Sherman has allowed just two passing touchdowns since 2018. Granted, he did miss 11 games in 2020, but he was still solid. Sherman was targeted in coverage 14 times and allowed eight completions for 87 yards and a touchdown, but was also able to snag an interception. He was targeted the third-fewest out of all cornerbacks in 2020.
Sherman's zone skills will be put to good use within the Bucs defense, as well. A lot of people think the Bucs are a press-heavy defense, but Todd Bowles deploys zone coverage more than people think. Per Sports Info Solutions, 42% of the Bucs' coverage snaps have utilized man and 34% of the coverage snaps have utilized zone in 2021.
The Bucs needed help and they received a heavy dose of it via Sherman's arrival. But it's obvious this won't be the only time the Bucs call his name. The next time it happens, you can bet it will be in-between the hashes.
And you can bet Sherman won't leave the Bucs on read.
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