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Pete Carroll says Seahawks have listened to interest in Richard Sherman but doesn’t expect a trade

Pete Carroll and John Schneider have had chances to end Richard Sherman trade speculation and haven't. (AP)

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll acknowledged Wednesday that Seattle has listened to interest from other teams about trading for Richard Sherman but said he doesn’t expect anything to happen with the Pro Bowl cornerback.

“You’re either competing or you’re not. And so we’ve always had to be open for everything, every suggestion that comes along,” Carroll told reporters from the owners’ meetings in Phoenix, via ESPN’s Sheil Kapadia. “There have been some teams that have called, and so we’ve talked about it. But he’s extremely important to our football team.

“I don’t see anything happening at all. And I don’t see anything happening with any other players, just the banter that’s out there right now. But it has been talked about. He’s a great player and can impact another team. I can see why people would be interested in him.”

That the Seahawks have “talked about” dealing Sherman is an interesting acknowledgement from Carroll, especially coming on the heels of what general manager John Schneider said – and didn’t say – a day earlier when asked about that possibility. Schneider said it’s the organization’s well-established position to listen to every offer and explore every possible move, even if the Seahawks end up walking away the great majority of the time.

Richard Sherman to Gee Scott: ‘I understand it’s a business’

It was an opportunity for Schneider to shoot down speculation that Seattle could be – or at least could have been – interested in trading Sherman, which originated with comments earlier this month from former NFL front-office executive Michael Lombardi in a podcast on The Ringer. Schneider did not, and if the Seahawks were at all concerned that his response unintentionally left the impression that the door is open to trading Sherman, Carroll would have slammed it shut on Wednesday.

He did not.

To be certain, Carroll saying he doesn’t see a trade happening is by no means equivalent to Carroll saying it’s not something the Seahawks would entertain or even execute.

And the Seahawks seem to be at least interested in the possibility of trading Sherman and/or want to put him on notice after a tumultuous season that included a pair of heated sideline exchanges with coaches, including Carroll, the fallout from which resulted in a strained relationship with some media members.

There was also a knee injury that bothered Sherman to some degree; my hypothesis has been that Carroll overstated its severity as a means of conveying the adversity that Sherman was dealing with last season. Carroll again Wednesday mentioned the challenges Sherman faced in 2016, sans the knee injury.

“Richard went through a lot last year, most of it self-inflicted,” Carroll said, according to Kapadia. “He got out there and he was in the midst of a season that was really challenging for him. If you remember when he did have his issue, it was right in the midst of playing some great players week after week after week. He was teed up for it and jacked about it and all that. And he was competing like crazy. He was a fantastic battler.

“The only thing that happened is he just didn’t come back to us. He didn’t reset as he has. He’s always found his way to reset. He kind of stayed on the edge throughout the season, which was very challenging for him to carry. He’s a very capable guy at dealing with all of the issues that the league brings and offers for guys. And he’s a guy that’s always going to be out in front. That’s where he should be. He’s an exceptional football player and an exceptional young man. And it just was a challenge for him. So I’m hoping that things balance out more so for him so that he doesn’t have to carry an additional burden just trying to be one of the best players in the NFL that he is. So I’m expecting him to do a really good job. He always has. Sometimes the turnaround time just takes a little bit longer than others.”

O’Neil: By saying they’ll listen to interest, Seahawks have put Sherman on notice

My sense is that the Seahawks have reached a point with Sherman that they’d trade him if the price was right, but that the price would have to really be right. Seattle already has to replace one starting cornerback, at least for the start of next season with DeShawn Shead coming off a torn ACL. Replacing two starters would be a challenge, especially considering Sherman was still playing at an elite level last season.

Sherman has two years and $22.431 million left on his contract. He turns 29 on Thursday.

Carroll mentioned that teams – plural – have called Seattle about Sherman. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported Wednesday that the Patriots were interested before they acquired another cornerback in free agency, Stephon Gilmore. Speaking hypothetically, perhaps another team with more cap space and/or draft capital – Cleveland has an abundance of both, for instance – could present the Seahawks a more appealing offer.

Schneider and Carroll have made it perfectly clear over the last two days that they’d listen.