Richard Sherman was released by the Seattle Seahawks on Friday. The cornerback was coming off an Achilles injury in the 2017 season. But Seattle will miss Sherman on the field and off it.
Richard Sherman is no longer a Seattle Seahawk. Some will complain he was too loud and too brash and detracted from the game. Fans may not like, much like Michael Bennett, that Sherman was too outspoken about his political views. But one thing should be made clear, Seattle will not be able to replace his talent.
12s defended Sherman as the best cornerback in the NFL. He regularly took away half of the field from opposing quarterbacks, including great ones like Aaron Rodgers.
Shaquill Griffin might end up being a yearly All Pro player. Seattle could draft Sherman’s replacement. But let’s be honest, there is much less fear of the Seahawks without Richard Sherman.
Did Seattle give up fewer yards passing per game when Sherman left with injury in week 10 of 2017? Yes (about 20 yards less a game). But that has more to do with the Seahawks’ inability to stop the run than it does teams wanting to throw more against Seattle.
Did Byron Maxwell do a pretty good job in Sherman’s absence? Yes. But no one can argue that Seattle was simply missing the proverbial “something” without Sherman. Matt Ryan of the Falcons did not have huge statistics against the Seahawks in 2017 throwing for only 195 yards. But Atlanta converted 9 of 14 third downs. Many of those were on short crossing routes. Would that kind of production happen if Sherman were on the field? Most likely not.
Sherman has not only been great since 2011, he was great in 2016 and before his injury in 2017. Teams had to account for him in a way they will not other Seahawks moving forward for the foreseeable future. Not any cornerback, anyway. Griffin might be great, but he is not Sherman. Not yet.
And Sherman will not be returning to Seattle. He is a free agent, sure. But the Seahawks are trying to clear space. Sherman will want, and will be offered, more money than Seattle would be willing to pay.
Possibly Sherman’s injury will keep him from long-term greatness. But a motivated Sherman in 2018? He will be great. 12s know it if they will admit it. And Seattle could have had Sherman in 2018 and they will miss not having him.
Like Sherman or not, Seattle is a lesser team this coming season without him.