As is the nature of every offseason in the NFL, rumors have rapidly come and gone. Very few linger for an extended period of time, but such is the case with the Seahawks and cornerback Richard Sherman.
A reunion between the two sides has long been speculated, with the 33-year old Sherman hitting free agency just as Seattle lost its top cornerback in Shaquill Griffin and another 2020 Week 1 starter in Quinton Dunbar. On more than one occasion, Sherman has spoken candidly about his interest in a return and the Seahawks have since reciprocated.
"We’re always open," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters in early May. "I’ve talked to Sherm quite a few times over the offseason. We have stayed in contact. He’s out there and I know he’s thinking about it. He’s looking for an opportunity."
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler added more fuel to the fire in an appearance on SportsCenter this past Sunday.
"I'm told that this is not off the table, that Sherman is still open to returning to the 'Legion of Boom,' or what remains of it," Fowler said. "He makes a home on the west coast, still has a home in Seattle, most people think he'd like to still play on the west coast and Seattle needs cornerback help. Nothing's working right now, but maybe closer to training camp something could shake out."
Wherever he eventually lands, Sherman intends for that to be with a team that's in line to compete for a championship this season. Since winning Super Bowl XLVIII with the Seahawks in 2013, Sherman has twice fallen short of clinching a second ring—once with the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX and then with the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.
Seattle isn't the only reunion on Sherman's mind, however, as the possibilities of linking back up with Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn or New Orleans defensive backs coach Kris Richard loom.
The Seahawks, meanwhile, await to see how their cornerback competition plays out in training camp. Outside of D.J. Reed, who seems all but locked into one of the team's starting jobs after breaking out at the end of 2020, questions are aplenty at the position. Rookie Tre Brown, free agent addition Ahkello Witherspoon and Tre Flowers appear to be the frontrunners to start opposite Reed, with veterans Pierre Desir and Damarious Randall also likely to factor into the battle.
Fowler believes Seattle's hesitancy to finalize something with Sherman is not a matter of wait-and-see with what it has in house, but rather a matter of money—specifically in regards to the highly-anticipated extension for safety Jamal Adams.
"Seattle needs to figure out the Adams money allocation before they take resources elsewhere," Fowler continued. "Because a guy like Sherman, he's not going to take the minimum. This is a high-caliber player that would need a decent contract."
Adams is currently set to play on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, which comes in at a 2021 cap hit of $9.8 million. However, it's long been expected that an extension would instead lower that number or keep it intact, with Adams seeing a large uptick in annual salary beginning in 2022.
Perhaps this is an indication that Sherman is eyeing a payout north of the $8.3 million OverTheCap.com currently projects the Seahawks to have in salary cap space. Thus, the team would have to create more room via the Adams extension to fit Sherman into their plans.
At that point, a deal would appear rather unlikely. The Seahawks will want to head into the season with some cap space for insurance and may have other areas they want to address before they fly to Indianapolis for Week 1.
Fans of the team would assuredly be ecstatic to see the former "Legion of Boom" maestro return to the Pacific Northwest, but it'll have to be on the Seahawks' terms. And by the time they know what they have to work with—both from a roster and financial perspective—Sherman could very well be in training camp donning a star or a fleur de lis on his helmet.