By Danny O’Neil
The past four years have shown the Seahawks’ formula for building a championship-caliber roster. Now, we’re seeing how they plan on sustaining it, and their latest step in that direction is also the biggest.
Four years, $56 million. That’s the contract cornerback Richard Sherman has signed with the Seahawks, and he is assured of receiving more than two-thirds of that total.
A look at the four biggest contracts the Seahawks have given to one of their defensive players over the past two years, with guaranteed money in parentheses.
|• CB Richard Sherman: 4 years, $56M ($40M)||• FS Earl Thomas: 4 years, $40M ($27.725M)||• DL Michael Bennett: 4 years, $28.5M ($16M)||• SS Kam Chancellor: 4 years, $28M ($7.825M)|
But this is about more than just the veritable buttload of cash. It’s about the way Seattle has reinvested in the players that are part of its nucleus. Kam Chancellor. Michael Bennett. Earl Thomas.
And now Sherman.
This is not how it works. Not in the NFL. Heck, not in professional sports today where assembling the talent is one thing but retaining it is another. Seattle won’t be able to retain all of its talent – the departure of wide receiver Golden Tate demonstrated that – but the Seahawks aren’t going to be some sort of finishing school for NFL millionaires, either.
And it’s not like the Seahawks are being cheap. Thomas’ four-year extension will make him the first $10 million per year safety, and Sherman is becoming the game’s highest-paid cornerback.
Anyone doubt whether quarterback Russell Wilson will be getting a new contract when he’s eligible for an extension next offseason? Because you shouldn’t.
This team – with all its talent – hasn’t used its franchise tag on a player since 2010 when it was placed on kicker Olindo Mare.
Seattle’s ability to acquire talent was apparent. Same for the Seahawks’ ability to develop that talent. Now, it’s their willingness to retain that talent that is on display.