Richard Sherman has made it pretty clear that he believes his time as a San Francisco 49er is coming to an end. After making the switch from the divisional rival Seattle Seahawks in 2018, Sherman helped guide the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2019. Richard Sherman is a veteran of the league and one of the best cornerbacks of the last 20 years. Now nearing the end of his career his ability may not be the same as it has been, but his presence in a locker room is second to none.
Finding himself as one of the many free agents in San Francisco makes it highly unlikely that Richard Sherman can suit up again for the 49ers. After missing the majority of the 2020 season through injury, he probably fancied another shot at the Super Bowl with this star-studded team. San Francisco is a star-studded team despite their record in 2020. Injuries hampered them on both sides of the ball and if it wasn’t for those injuries they would definitely have been in the playoffs.
Richard Sherman Super Bowl Winner
Sherman already has a Super Bowl title to his name and will more than likely be looking for another before retirement rolls around. Having already earned upwards of 80 million dollars over his career the draw of money is likely to be lower than the draw of a potential Super Bowl title. That being said, money is still a huge draw and despite his performances dipping in recent years, he will likely still command a big salary.
In 2018, Richard Sherman still got a three-year deal worth just over 27 million dollars. He is unlikely to get a contract that high again but the five-time pro bowler might not be too far away. That being said, the draw of a Super Bowl has to be a big appeal, so here are the four best (and most likely) landing spots for the star cornerback.
New Orleans Saints
If it is a Super Bowl that Richard Sherman is after then why not the New Orleans Saints? Other than the New England Patriots is there any other team that has been favorites to reach the Super Bowl as often as the Saints? Every year they find themselves high on everyone’s list as a Super Bowl favorite, and rightfully so. Sean Payton is one of the best coaches in the game and he has built one of the best teams in the game.
The struggle this year is the likely departure of Drew Brees and the cap hell that they find themselves in. That being said, if the Saints can find the money to bring Sherman in then a Super Bowl XLVIII reunion could be in the cards. Kris Richard was hired as the defensive backs coach for the Saints and he deserves the credit of creating the "Legion Of Boom". Richard was the defensive backs coach for Seattle when Richard Sherman earned three consecutive All-Pro Selections and a Super Bowl win. A rather fruitful pairing.
With the hiring of Richard, the Saints are likely to transfer to a Cover-3 defense in 2021, a defense that Sherman is well accustomed to. Richard Sherman is a leader on defense and with the Saints having one of the best defenses in the league, they could be one leading figure away from another Super Bowl run.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers may not be Richard Sherman’s first thought when he thinks about Super Bowl caliber teams, but they shouldn’t be too far down the list. A young quarterback who lit up the league last year with loads of weapons at the wide receiver position, and a strong running back in Austin Ekeler has the offense ready to compete.
As for the defense, the Chargers have a quality pass rush in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. A quality pass rush is what makes a cornerback’s job that much easier. With Derwin James playing safety and able to take some of the pressure away, Sherman should be able to be at his ball-hawking best. Los Angeles also has 22 million dollars to play with in terms of cap space and can use that to help bolster the defense.
An offense ready to go, a defense that can be ready with a few additions, and a new head coach desperate to prove his worth as a head coach in the NFL. Los Angeles could be primed for a run at the playoffs with all these things and a player with the leadership qualities and knowledge of Richard Sherman could make that a lot easier. Plus, it would be a return to his Californian roots.
New York Jets
I know I said that Richard Sherman was probably looking to go to a Super Bowl caliber team, but who is to say that the New York Jets can’t do that in 2021. They have a huge amount of cap space, they have the second pick in the draft, they have a new head coach, and they have shown glimpses of what they are capable of in the last few games. Firstly, they need to decide on the quarterback position. If they manage to tempt Deshaun Watson away from the Houston Texans would you still say they didn’t have a shot at the Super Bowl? All of a sudden the Jets could be a Super Bowl candidate.
Since we have transformed the Jets into Super Bowl candidates why wouldn’t Richard Sherman fancy a shot on the East Coast? He has been a West Coast man all his days so the lights of New York could tempt him across the country. The biggest draw has to be the chance to work alongside Robert Saleh once again.
Saleh is likely to implement the Cover-3 style that Sherman has excelled in his whole career and that would make the transition a lot easier. That coupled with the fact that the Jets are in need of a cornerback makes the destination seem all the more possible.
New York has just shy of 70 million dollars to play with and can therefore afford to tempt Sherman with a better deal than most. That coupled with the fact that they will likely bring in a cornerback with one of their six picks inside the first 98 who will need a mentor, makes Richard Sherman an ideal signing for Gang Green.
Another team with huge amounts of cap space and a need at the cornerback position is the AFC South runner-ups, the Indianapolis Colts. With the retirement of Philip Rivers, the Colts find themselves with about 65 million dollars in free cap space. Let’s not forget they have all that cap space and they still made it to the playoffs in 2020.
Granted, Rivers was a big part of that and his retirement will slightly lower their chances of making it back to the playoffs, but Carson Wentz is certainly capable of playing well enough. Much like the Chargers, the Colts offense is ready to go. A quarterback who excels under Frank Reich, plenty of wide receiver options for him, and a strong running game gives the Colts one of the best offenses in the AFC.
Now onto the defense. Indianapolis boasted one of the best defenses in the league for large parts of the 2020 season. A strong linebacker group led by Darius Leonard and a former 49er in DeForest Buckner on the defensive line had the Colts getting pressure to most quarterbacks they faced. As previously mentioned cornerbacks love it when their front seven get to the quarterback.
Xavier Rhodes and T.J. Carrie are both set to leave Indianapolis this year and the need for a new cornerback is huge. Much like the Jets, they may look to add a cornerback from the draft, but who wouldn’t want a veteran like Richard Sherman to show them the ropes.
With the end of his career approaching fast, Richard Sherman still has plenty to offer in terms of his knowledge and experience. Every team mentioned above could do with some veteran leadership amongst their defensive backs, and with that guidance, they could become a real Super Bowl contender.