O’Neil: Keeping Richard Sherman and his drama could be more costly to the Seahawks than trading him
What the Seahawks will gain by trading Richard Sherman won’t be sufficient to justify dealing the All-Pro cornerback.
It’s what Seattle will be shedding itself of.
The drama. The volatility. The insistence upon always being right even when it means showing up his coaches and his teammates.
Because unless Sherman can find some sort of maturity and stability that has been noticeably absent for the past six months, the Seahawks would be foolish to count on him as a cog on a championship team let alone the cornerstone that he was during this team’s run to back-to-back Super Bowls.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s start with what happened Wednesday when the possibility of Sherman being traded went from a local reading-between-the-lines discussion here in Seattle to a national storyline. It was as if everyone decided – all at once – “OK, this is real.” In fact, that was almost a direct quote from general manager John Schneider during his appearance with “Brock and Salk” on 710 ESPN Seattle.
“What you’ve seen lately in the news is real,” Schneider said. “On both sides.”
And with that, the discussion of trading Sherman became a looming possibility being debated nationally.
The Patriots were said to be interested in acquiring Sherman if they lost cornerback Malcolm Butler, according to the Boston Herald. Then, the Patriots were no longer interested in Sherman, according to Comcast Sports in New England.
This is not what a team does when it decides to ship a guy out. There are no warning flares in the NFL. No town-hall meetings or open public forums. A team makes a decision (usually to get younger and cheaper) and trades the guy with a quote in the press release serving as the “Dear John” letter.
What’s happening here with Sherman is something else entirely. This is more like a performance in which the team is admitting it would consider trading a prime asset if that’s what’s best for the business while making it clear it thinks it will end up holding onto him.
Initially, I thought the Seahawks were using that to send a message to Sherman. A brushback to see if his sideline blowups and public disagreement with the offense’s goal-line strategy in 2016 was a sign of things to come in 2017.
I no longer think that is the case. This is more like some sort of pro-football theater in which the Seahawks admit they’re listening to offers for a player they do not really want to trade.
And that’s why Seattle should trade him.
At some point, this is a football team, not a place where every player gets to work out whatever he’s unhappy with.
We’ve already seen how individual agendas can impact this team’s season when Kam Chancellor missed nearly two months in a holdout that was much more straightforward in comparison to this. That guy just wanted more money.
Marshawn Lynch’s potential exit to Oakland is a gimme putt compared to what’s happening with Sherman, and when your situation is more confusing that one involving Lynch, it’s probably time for everyone to take a deep breath and ponder what exactly is going on.
The question of trading Sherman ultimately is not really about what Seattle would get for him in return. The fact that no deal has been done yet means the Seahawks haven’t been offered anything they think would be more valuable than at least one more season of Sherman starting at cornerback.
It’s the cost of keeping Sherman that should be the biggest concern, though. Unless you think the cornerback is going to make peace with the situation here in Seattle, and there’s absolutely no evidence that is going to happen.
In fact, plenty of what Sherman has said and done over the past six months points in the opposite direction.