Richard Sherman is one of the premier free agents still available ahead of the 20201 NFL season, and in a recent interview, clearly stated his intentions to land somewhere he can realistically compete for a Super Bowl.
“I want to get to a team that’s competing for a championship, so that’s what I’m focused on and waiting for a right opportunity,” Sherman said, per Bloomberg’s Ritika Gupta. “When it comes, that’s where I’ll be.”
Every player on the open market likely goes to a team with the intention of winning as many games as possible. However, Sherman has been biding his time for a while, so he’s not just going to gaslight himself into thinking he’s competing for a championship and take the highest payday.
While it’s possible Sherman ultimately re-signs with the San Francisco 49ers, let’s look at four other championship-caliber suitors who should strongly consider bringing the future Hall of Famer aboard.
Richard Sherman to Seattle Seahawks
It seems like the Seattle Seahawks have patched things up well enough with star quarterback Russell Wilson to at least get through the 2021 season. Another way to keep their face of the franchise happy would be to bring back another player from Seattle’s Legion of Boom glory days in Sherman.
A reunion with the Seahawks is absolutely not off the table for Sherman, and both parties would benefit immensely from joining forces for a second stint.
Sherman knows the system well, has a relationship with coach Pete Carroll and Wilson, and fills a huge need at cornerback. Seattle saw its No. 1 corner Shaquil Griffin leave for the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency, and don’t have many other viable options at the position.
One of Sherman’s 49ers teammates, Ahkello Witherspoon, signed with the Seahawks earlier this offseason. Maybe he could help recruit Sherman back to the Emerald City for one last ride.
Richard Sherman to Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns have been proactive about upgrading their defense, and will get cornerback Greedy Williams back in the secondary after he missed all of 2020 due to injury. Rookie first-rounder Greg Newsome II is also in the fold, as is free-agent acquisition Troy Hill.
It’s expected that Hill will be predominantly used in the slot. If Cleveland doesn’t want to count on a first-year player in Newsome, or a young, injury-prone corner in Williams to start on the outside opposite Denzel Ward, then Sherman is a logical one-year option.
Sherman shared time in San Francisco with current Browns defensive coordinator Joe Woods. During the 49ers’ phenomenal 2019 campaign when they made it to the Super Bowl, Woods was their defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator. Thus, Sherman has an innate familiarity with what Woods wants to do schematically.
Getting another veteran in the defensive backfield to mentor Cleveland’s extremely youthful cornerback corps can only help the Browns’ bid to go for a Super Bowl. This team is all-in for 2021, currently still has over $20 million in cap space. That’s plenty of room to pay Sherman and give him the chance at a championship.
Richard Sherman to Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott has run a base Cover 3 scheme throughout his career in the NFL, and that’s precisely the alignment Sherman has thrived in.
Considering that the Bills are on such an upward trajectory thanks to Josh Allen’s ascent to superstardom, Buffalo has to appeal to Sherman. The team just went to the AFC Championship Game, and could use another veteran corner on the outside to pair with star Tre’Davious White.
Although Buffalo should be excited about the future, the AFC East isn’t about to be the easy division it was in 2020. The New England Patriots stocked up in free agency, the New York Jets just got a lot better by drafting QB Zach Wilson No. 2 overall, and the Miami Dolphins are primed for contention off a 10-win season.
With all that established, the Bills really haven’t done a lot this offseason in terms of splashy moves to vastly upgrade their roster, while all their division rivals have been aggressive in that pursuit.
Sherman would be a great get for Buffalo this late in the game. Another strong selling point the Bills have is one of the NFL’s elite safety duos in Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde.
Richard Sherman to Green Bay Packers
Amid an ongoing rift with MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers are facing tons of uncertainty despite their signal-caller’s brilliant 2020 campaign, consecutive 13-3 records and two straight NFC title game appearances.
One of the big reasons Green Bay didn’t make the Super Bowl this past postseason was the poor play at cornerback from Kevin King. The Packers don’t have a ton of depth at the position at all, and are likely counting on rookie first-rounder Eric Stokes to fill the void.
Stokes was widely viewed as a reach in the draft, and it’s a lot to ask of him to jump in right away and thrive while being targeted at a high rate. Most QBs aren’t even going to challenge Jaire Alexander, so Stokes could be in for a demoralizing trial by fire NFL introduction.
That is, unless Green Bay comes to its senses, actually spends a little bit on an outside free agent, and lands Sherman.
Seldom few unsigned players would give the Packers more of what they need defensively — a hard-edged attitude, leadership, high-end production and a championship pedigree — than what Sherman could provide. Green Bay’s locker room needs guidance from proven vets like Sherman, especially as it weathers the current Rodgers storm.