Richard Sherman is still with the Seattle Seahawks during OTAs despite the flurry of trade rumors that surrounded him and the Seahawks this offseason.
Both Seahawks GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll at various points in the offseason admitted the team was listening to trade offers for the 29-year-old cornerback, but ultimately, no deal went through.
On the surface, it seems bizarre for the Seahawks to even consider trading an All-Pro corner like Sherman, who for years has been the face of one of the NFL’s best defenses.
However, according to ESPN’s Seth Wickersham, there is a rift within the Seahawks, between the offense and defense, Sherman and Carroll, and Sherman and Russell Wilson, dating back to the Seahawks’ last-second Super Bowl loss to the Patriots in 2014.
According to Wickersham, Sherman is inconsolable over the Seahawks’ decision to call a pass play from the one-yard line in the final seconds. The pass, of course, was intercepted by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. Sherman and other defensive players feel the coaching staff made a mistake with the play call, but the coaching staff has never admitted such. It reportedly burns Sherman the most of anybody.
“According to interviews with numerous current and former Seahawks players, coaches and staffers, few have taken it harder than Richard Sherman. He has told teammates and friends that he believes the Seahawks should have won multiple Super Bowls by now. And with just one trophy and the window closing fast, he has placed responsibility for that failing on the two faces of the franchise: Wilson and Carroll. Sherman, who like Wilson declined comment for this story, thinks Carroll hasn’t held Wilson or many young Seahawks to the defense’s championship standard. He’s been disillusioned not only by that single play more than two years earlier but also by his coach’s and quarterback’s response to it.”
According to Wickersham, the difference in the reactions illustrates philosophical divide between Sherman and Wilson and Carroll. Wilson and Carroll are positive-minded people who focused on moving on from the play as quickly as possible. Sherman, meanwhile, is a fierce competitor who’s had trouble letting go of the play.
Furthermore, it’s illustrative of a divide between the offense and defense. Wickersham reports that many of the team’s defensive players think Carroll goes easy on Wilson and the offense, despite that side of the ball being relatively weak in comparison to the Seahawks’ usually elite defense. It seemed to spill over last season.
“Sherman and Carroll had a series of conversations about old wounds that seemed fresh. Sherman had exploded on coaches and teammates on the sideline after a series of blown coverages in a two-point win over the Falcons on Oct. 16. A week later, against the Cardinals, Sherman was on the field for 99 snaps, including four on special teams. He was so exhausted and dehydrated, shivering with a fever, that he leaned on Wagner from the shower to his locker and drained two IV bags. It was a warrior effort wasted. Before overtime, Wilson’s offense had managed only five first downs and nine punts. The game ended 6-6. The offensive line was manhandled, but Carroll complimented Ifedi’s play after the game, privately setting off many Seahawks defenders as an example of Carroll seeming too positive.”
According to Wickersham, Wilson is a divisive figure within the Seahawks and that there is a resentment among defensive players for Wilson’s treatment from the coaching staff. Wickersham reports that some on the Seahawks joke the Carroll’s “Tell the Truth” Monday film breakdown should be called “Tell the Truth to Certain People” because of Wilson’s frequent exclusion.
Wilson and Sherman reportedly “coexist” – neither friends nor enemies. However, Sherman and the defense, according to Wickersham, has grown increasingly resentful of Wilson and the offense and Sherman’s numerous outbursts last season led to the Seahawks debating whether it was time to move on.
Of course, no trade was made, and according to Wickersham, Carroll and Sherman seemed to get on the same page this offseason, resuming business as usual as offseason workouts begin.
Still, as Wickersham puts it, “maybe it’s all just believable now in spring but breakable come autumn, after the inevitable incomplete throw at the goal line.” If the Seahawks struggle, the offense in particular, this season, Sherman’s attitude and future with the team may be something to watch.