By: Josh Shippen
During free agency there were many rumors and scenarios floated around involving the fates of every available free agent, and Sherman was no exception. Richard Sherman was floated to the Saints on many different venues, and I believe the scenario is plausible.
To start out with the basic history, Sherman was drafted 154th overall in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Sherman very quickly became a household name, posting 17 passes defensed, 4 interceptions, and an 85.2 grade from Pro Football Focus which ranked 16th amongst qualifying cornerbacks of that season. Sherman’s career quickly escalated from there, he became notorious for his role in the Legion of Boom secondary along with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas III. This Legion of Boom became a part of one of the best defenses in the NFL for a stretch, a defense that was able to make two Super Bowls and win one. Sherman’s career has seen three First Team All-Pro appearances, two Second Team appearances, and Five Pro Bowls. He was also the leader in interceptions for 2013.
‘Sherman has attained a reputation of being rather outspoken for his trash talking and brash statements. This includes Sherman saying he was “livid” at some of the player selections in front of him, and calling Michael Crabtree a “sorry receiver”. This could hurt Sherman’s stock, especially since his reputation has not recessed in recent years.
In 2018, Sherman signed a 3 year $39 Million dollar deal with the San Francisco 49ers, a deal whose expiration has caused the loss of a job for Sherman. Sherman’s contract was not extended and he hit the free agent market this season. Sherman had two lackluster seasons marred by injury and poor play in 2018 and 2020, but had a season in 2019 that I regarded as one of the best cornerback performances of the season with 11 passes defensed, 3 interceptions, and an 88.9 grade from Pro Football Focus, one of the best by a cornerback.
While Sherman’s drop-off has not been unexpected or completely sudden, it does pose a problem for Sherman getting a new job. Most bad teams looking for a cornerback are looking for a strong young presence rather than an older, less effective presence, and most good teams are not in the market for cornerbacks because there is already depth at position. Yet, here are the Saints. The perfect middle ground.
The New Orleans Saints have had a very strong defensive past few years, but 2020 featured a slight but noticeable recession. Players like Marshon Lattimore that had been rocks in that defense had a pretty bad 2020 season, and Janoris Jenkins, D.J. Swearinger, Sheldon Rankins, and Kwon Alexander all left in the 2020 offseason. So while the defense does look like it is about to recede, there are players such as Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis, and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson that people should definitely be excited about. So the defense could be turning into a need, but we are not at a desperate position yet.
In short, Sherman could be a great addition to this team. At the height of his powers he could be an upgrade on the reliable veteran presence that Janoris Jenkins brought in recent years past. Sherman has a chance to be a part of a new great defense,