We have no real idea whether the Seattle Seahawks will trade Richard Sherman. What we do know is that he’s firmly on the trade block and the asking price is said to be both a high-round pick and a good player.
That pretty much limits the teams that could make a play for the All Pro cornerback. But it also sets up a bunch of rather interesting and realistic trade scenarios.
From a deal that would send Sherman to Northern California for a young offensive lineman to a trade that would bring a young backup quarterback back to Seattle (temporarily), here are the seven most-realistic Richard Sherman trade scenarios.
Oakland Raiders for Gabe Jackson and a second-round pick
We already know that Oakland is one of the teams in pursuit of Sherman. That makes total sense considering the team’s title contention status and need for an upgrade at cornerback. Last season saw Oakland yield a 92-plus quarterback rating and the 10th-most passing yards in the NFL. That’s just not sustainable if this young team wants to take the next step in 2017.
It might be difficult bullet for the team to bite, but giving up an All-Pro caliber guard in Gabe Jackson would likely be the price the Raiders would have to pay here. It also makes sense in that Jackson, Khalil Mack and Derek Carr are all up for extensions. Can the Raiders justify paying each of them top-five positional money moving forward? That’s whole lot of cash for three players in today’s NFL.
From a Seahawks perspective, any deal bringing back a veteran would likely have to include either a cornerback to replace Sherman or an upgrade along the offensive line.
Jackson would immediately become the team’s best offensive lineman, likely taking over at left guard and working next to new starting tackle Luke Joeckel. This would cure one of the glaring weaknesses on the team’s offensive line, Mark Glowinski at left guard.
Then, with the second-round pick they acquire from Oakland, Seattle would be able to address the cornerback position in a draft that’s absolutely stacked at that position.
New Orleans Saints for Andrus Peat and a first-round pick
New Orleans is also in need of help in the defensive secondary. It has also hosted restricted free agent Malcolm Butler in hopes that a trade can be worked out for the New England Patriots’ cornerback. Though, it looks like New England is holding firm on wanting New Orleans’ original first-round pick (11th overall) by virtue of Butler leaving via free agency (more on that here).
If that’s the case, the Saints might be better off going the cheaper route by adding a more proven (and older) veteran to the mix. This specific trade scenario would include the Saints sending their second first-round pick (32nd overall), which was acquired from New England for Brandin Cooks.
This would give Seattle two first-round picks and a potential right tackle in Peat to build with moving forward. New Orleans originally selected Peat 13th overall back in 2015 out of Stanford to play tackle. But due to the play of Zach Strief and Terron Armstead at the book-end positions, he was moved inside.
Regardless, Seattle could keep the former top-round pick inside or decide to have him play right tackle opposite Luke Joeckel. Either options could give the team a major upgrade along the offensive line. It would also enable Seattle to address cornerback with one of its two first-round picks. This trade makes a ton of sense for both sides.
Atlanta Falcons for Robert Alford, second-round pick and change
The idea of teaming Sherman up with Pro Bowl cornerback Desmond Trufant has to be sexy for the defending NFC champions. Remember, this was a major Achilles’ heel for an an otherwise surprising Falcons team last season.
With Trufant missing seven games to injury last season, Atlanta’s pass defense finished in the bottom five of the NFL. Imagine a healthy and recently extended Trufant locking down one corner of the field with Sherman doing his thing on the other side.
There’s also been some discussion that somehow Sherman is scheme limited. While there is some question as to whether this is true, Dan Quinn’s defensive scheme is an exact replica of what he ran in Seattle when Sherman jumped on to the scene back in 2013 and 2014. It’s a tremendous fit.
While Atlanta wouldn’t be willing to yield Alford and a first-round pick in exchange for Sherman, it could entice the Seahawks to take the young corner with some other added benefits to get a deal done. That would include a second-round pick this year and potentially a second or third-round pick in 2018. This scenario would enable Seattle to address its need immediately at corner with a cheaper and younger option.
Oh, and Alford would definitely be a scheme fit in the Pacific Northwest after having excelled under Quinn over the couple seasons.
San Francisco 49ers for Joe Staley and a second-round pick
Hear us out for a second. This seems absolutely absurd on the surface. Why would Seattle trade Sherman to a division rival? Why would a rebuilding 49ers team yield a bounty for a 29-year-old corner? There’s a few different things we must focus on here.
One, San Francisco is in desperate need of help on defense. Here’s a unit that yielded a 96.9 quarterback rating to go with 30 passing touchdowns a season ago. Secondly, Sherman would fit right into the team’s defense, which is led by new coordinator Robert Saleh — a man that was an assistant coach in Seattle up until four seasons ago. Finally, Sherman played college ball at Stanford and has been seen frequenting the Bay Area in recent years. If not the Raiders, San Francisco could make some sense for him from a personal standpoint.
In order for this deal to work, it would have to take place during the draft. San Francisco is not yielding a Pro Bowl left tackle and the second pick in the second round for a 29-year-old cornerback. That’s just not happening.
Instead, new general manager John Lynch and Co. would have to move up and down the board to acquire extra picks in order for this trade to work. Considering the 49ers are looking to do just that, it isn’t too far-fetched.
From Seattle’s standpoint, this makes too much sense. Joe Staley has been among the most-consistent left tackles in the NFL over the past decade — earning five Pro Bowl appearances over the past six seasons. While Staley is 32 and has a ton of tread on his tires, he could act as a significant upgrade for Seattle over the next few seasons. That much isn’t even up for debate.
Dallas Cowboys for Dez Bryant and third-round pick
To say that Dallas needs an upgrade at corner would be a major understatement. There’s not one objective person out there who doesn’t believe this team will be looking to add multiple players at that position early in the upcoming draft. Why not pick up an All-Pro corner and simply just cut to the chase? The only real issue here is that Dallas doesn’t have the cap space to take on Sherman’s salary.
That leads us to the suggestion that Jerry Jones and Co. should move on from No. 1 receiver Dez Bryant, who would act as a nice veteran swap with Sherman. Sure Bryant is important to what the Cowboys do on offense, but injuries limited him to a minor role this past season. All said, Bryant recorded 50 receptions for less than 800 yards. Really, he just didn’t seem to mesh too well with Dak Prescott.
By moving Bryant to Seattle, Dallas saves enough against the cap to pick up Sherman’s salary. In this scenario, it only yielded a third-round pick as bait from the draft. That would enable the Cowboys to add a young receiver to the mix in one of the first two rounds while building up its thin secondary following the departures of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne.
From a Seahawks perspective, the idea of adding Bryant to the mix has to be appealing. They can team him up with the likes of Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Jimmy Graham to form an electric pass-catching group. Giving Russell Wilson that one big-bodied target on the outside to pair with Baldwin would be pretty sexy. Seattle would also pick up a third-round pick here it can use on developmental offensive lineman in a strong draft along that unit.
Baltimore Ravens for Marshall Yanda and second-round pick
Let’s figure this one out together. Baltimore has exhausted a lot of capital in the secondary by signing the likes of Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson over the past two offseasons. Though, the additions there were to help build up a previously struggling safety group. Add in the move of Lardarius Webb from corner to safety, and that’s magnified even further.
Even if Webb, who was just re-signed, returns to cornerback there’s still definitely a need there. Why not make a move for one of the top corners in the game to create the best secondary in football? That would help Baltimore overcome what has been a major regression from a pass-rush standpoint.
Sure moving a Pro Bowler like Yanda would hurt here, but that’s a position Baltimore could fill internally or through the draft. It’s nowhere near as important in today’s pass-first NFL as cornerback.
On the flip side, the addition of Yanda would help Seattle build up a strong interior of the offensive line. He could team up with fellow guard Germain Ifedi and center Justin Britt to form a solid trio in that regard.
Add in a right tackle during the draft, and Seattle’s offensive line issues wouldn’t be anywhere near as prevalent as they have been in recent seasons. Picking up a mid second-round pick here would go a long way in doing just that.
New England Patriots for Jimmy Garoppolo
Stay with us, there’s a lot of layers here. Seattle wouldn’t be acquiring Garoppolo to have him somehow replace franchise signal caller Russell Wilson. And for their part, the Patriots are not about to part ways with Malcolm Butler and a high-round pick for Sherman. Heck, New England doesn’t even have a selection in the first two rounds of this year’s draft.
Instead, the idea would be for New England to pick up Sherman while finding a way to trade Butler to another team. That would give the defending Super Bowl champions a tremendous corner duo of Stephon Gilmore and Richard Sherman. It would also enable them to pick up another first-round pick by moving Butler in a trade (hello, New Orleans).
From a Seahawks perspective, this is a bit more simple. They would then flip Garoppolo to the Cleveland Browns for the 12th pick that Hue Jackson and Co. have reportedly been willing to offer New England for the backup quarterback.
Heck, the Seahawks might even be able to squeeze more out of Cleveland here, potentially even Joe Thomas. Think about that for a second before throwing this whole idea out the window. It actually makes a ton of sense for both sides.