That comment led many New York Jets fans to give up hopes of a Robert Saleh-Sherman reunion in green and white. To make matters worse, Saleh then shut down the idea of the Jets bringing a veteran corner into camp, during his initial media day at OTAs.
Saleh told Jets reporters: “The easy answer is to right now bring in a veteran, but a veteran will probably just eat up reps and not give us an ability to look at these young guys who are just starving for an opportunity.”
At this point in the process, a Sherman signing in New York had gone from an expected acquisition to an unlikely scenario.
Update in the Sherman Free Agency Saga
Now we finally have an update on the veteran, and it could keep the Jets in contention down the line. SNY NFL insider Ralph Vacchiano released a story stating: “Many around the NFL believe Sherman is much more likely to wait out training camp and hope to sign on to a contender.”
I know, the knee-jerk reaction here is that the Jets are not a contender, so this changes nothing, but the opinion surrounding this franchise has been different since the moment Saleh walked through the door of One Jets Drive.
Sherman knows this better than anyone. He’s grown as a player alongside Saleh’s coaching career in both Seattle and San Francisco, and once referred to Saleh as a “football genius” who is “meticulous in his attention to detail.” The vet also praised the Jet coaching hire from day one.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback shared Sherman’s initial thoughts on the hire: “Great pick up! He’s gonna turn that entire culture around!”
ESPN’s Rich Cimini also noted that Saleh was initially interested in a reunion if they could get Sherman on board. That may have since changed, but situations like this are often fluid, and a couple of months from now they could change again.
NFL insider Connor Rogers added that you can never completely close the door on Sherman to the Jets on the Badlands podcast, saying: “What I’ve always heard with Sherman is if that competitive destination doesn’t arrive, he has that relationship with Saleh that maybe something can be worked out here [with the Jets].”
Reasons This Works for NYJ
As we know, Saleh and Joe Douglas would prefer to provide their younger prospects with as many camp reps as possible. That aligns perfectly with Sherman’s decision to delay his signing.
The Jets can take the summer to see what they have in rookies like Jason Pinnock, Michael Carter II, Brandin Echols and Isaiah Dunn. Then, if they feel they still need a veteran presence like Sherman, you make the corner an offer he cannot refuse.
Outside the obvious ‘inexperience on the roster at the position’ factor, Sherman is the ideal Jets candidate for one other reason, there are few finer mentors in the NFL.
Not only can Sherman educate the Jet youngsters on Saleh’s defensive scheme, but he can also teach them what it means to be a respected professional and role model in this league. Having a player like that makes everyone better, not just the cornerback room.
It also makes this locker room stronger. Sherman is a proven winner with a plethora of wisdom and advice to bestow. Considering how youthful this roster is, that may actually be his greatest impact.
If you go back to that Sherman-Stephen A. conversation, the cornerback told the audience that he wanted to play two more seasons. Humor me for a second and consider that the Jets could be an up-and-coming team in 2021, with the cap space and the draft capital to make a playoff push in 2022.
Now tell me, would Sherman sign up for a sunset run like that under Saleh’s leadership?
If the Jets don’t find two clear starting cornerbacks in camp, should they make a strong push for Sherman before Week 1? Let us know your opinion on Facebook @HeavyOnJets, or Twitter @obermuller_nyj and @BoyGreen25.