Richard Sherman’s remarkable career with the Seattle Seahawks will end with his release. The Seahawks’ remarkable run this decade seems to be ending too.
It’s rare for a cornerback to become arguably the most recognizable face of a Super Bowl-winning organization. But Sherman was a rare cornerback. He’ll move on to another team, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the team informed Sherman he will be released on Friday, which has been anticipated all week. Sherman texted ESPN’s Josina Anderson that “they are gonna let me explore free agency with the hope that I can return. They just wanted the financial flexibility.”
Sherman took to social media to thank the Seahawks “for taking a chance on a kid that was overlooked by many.”
It’s the latest move that signals a major shift for the Seahawks, who won two NFC championships and a Super Bowl this decade. They have replaced both coordinators this offseason. Defensive end Michael Bennett was shipped to Philadelphia in a trade. Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril have serious questions about whether they can continue playing due to injuries. Jimmy Graham could leave in free agency. And now Sherman is moving on.
The Seahawks had one of the best defenses of this era. Their domination in Super Bowl XLVIII against a Denver Broncos offense that set an NFL record for points scored is one of the greatest single-game performances by a defense in league history, given the stage and the opponent. It might be the greatest, period. Seattle had a stifling, brash, fun defense and an offense that featured stars like quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Marshawn Lynch. In a league that turns over constantly, their five-year stretch from 2012-16 was as good as any outside of New England in recent years. Slowly the roster got picked apart, by the salary cap and age. Seattle still has Wilson to build around, and that puts them in a better position than most teams hitting the reset button, but a new era is starting in Seattle. Sherman’s departure hammers that point home.
Sherman was an incredible story during the Seahawks’ rise, as a fifth-round pick who became arguably the best cornerback in football. He was a first-team All-Pro three straight seasons, from 2012-14. Sherman continued to play at a Pro Bowl level, but last year his season was cut short due to a torn Achilles tendon. Sherman became the face of this Seahawks championship era because of his stellar play and outspoken ways. His big play in the NFC championship game four years ago against the San Francisco 49ers, batting a pass intended for Michael Crabtree that was intercepted, put the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII, which Seattle won. That play also led to his infamous postgame interview with Fox’s Erin Andrews. That summed up Sherman. He talked big, but he backed it up. He had a truly amazing run in Seattle.
Sherman was entering the final season of a four-year, $56 million deal. He had a base salary of $11 million due, will turn 30 years old on March 30, and is coming off a torn Achilles. While it’s sad for Seahawks fans to see Sherman go, it’s not a huge surprise either.
Sherman will find a new team, because he’s still a very good cornerback, assuming a return to health. But Friday seemed like the end of a tremendous, historic era in Seattle.
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