The Seahawks have a lot of free agent decisions to make this offseason. One might be bringing back Richard Sherman to replace Shaquill Griffin. Seattle needs to find money somewhere as they are already up against the salary cap, no matter what it is set at. Griffin is a young corner who will probably want $12 million or more in free agency. Sherman is the “old” pro who should expect to get less.
But don’t let me mislead you into thinking I don’t think Sherman is any good anymore because that would be wrong. True, Sherman wasn’t that great in 2020 but he played in only five games and San Francisco had very little pass rush due to injuries. Sherman allowed a career-high 102.3 passer-rating when targeted by opposing quarterbacks.
But even though Sherman was injured and gave up that QBR-against Shaquill Griffin wasn’t much better in some key metrics. For instance, Sherman allowed 64.7 percent of passes thrown his way to be completed, Griffin allowed 62.1 percent. When the pass was completed, Sherman allowed fewer yards to be picked up at 10.8 yards compared to Griffin’s 11.9.
And 2020 was by far Sherman’s worst year and Griffin’s second-best season. If one looks at 2019 when both cornerbacks made the Pro Bowl Sherman was far better than Griffin. Sherman allowed a QBR of 63.0 and Griffin’s was 97.3. Sherman will be 33 years old when the 2021 season begins and while he might not ever play at his 2019 level again, he also likely won’t play anywhere near his 2020 season.
With Griffin, he has been pretty consistent with his numbers and has always allowed a passer-rating against of 93.3 or more. He isn’t a true number one corner. He’s a good player but through four seasons has never been great. And he may never be. So when the Seahawks look at who to give a lot of money to one of the answers may not be Griffin.
Griffin is a good person and a good teammate and plays with joy. Those are all good qualities but are they good enough to raise his value to more than Seattle should be comfortable paying?
Sherman seems to be a good person too, but plays with anger and his anger can also boil over to the locker room and the press room. But he is also a veteran who has a better career than Griffin and is still good enough in the Seahawks system to play left corner. Let’s not forget that Sherman also still lives in Seattle in the offseason.
Seahawks could save money by choosing Sherman over Griffin
Sherman might still want $10 million or more a season but with a reduced salary cap, he is probably not going to get that. Would he settle for $9 million each for two more years? If so, Seattle should try to sign him. Griffin might sign for $14 million elsewhere so Seattle in essence would save $5 million a year. Even if Sherman signs for $10 million and Griffin $12.5 million elsewhere, that is a $2.5 million savings for comparable players.
The biggest question is Sherman’s health, of course. He isn’t getting younger and missed 11 games last year with the 49ers who will not be bringing him back due to money. But even though Griffin is just 26 years old he also gets hurt a bit and missed four games last year.
Lastly, even though Sherman left under not-great circumstances because of his vocal complaining about the offense and then signed with the intra-division 49ers, 12s still like him a lot. And it would seem fitting for him to end his career with the Seahawks.