At one point this offseason it seemed like Richard Sherman ending up with the New York Jets was a foregone conclusion.
The veteran cornerback was one of the biggest advocates for former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh getting a head coaching gig in 2021.
The Jets had and still have a gaping hole at cornerback on its roster.
It seemed like a match made in heaven.
Despite that, Sherman is still a free agent in the middle of May and the Jets still have a variety of question marks at corner.
So What Gives?
Sherman is 33 years old and has expressed a desire to suit up for another two seasons before hanging up his cleats for good.
“I only want to play two more [seasons],” Sherman said to Stephen A Smith. “I want to get on a competitive team. I think I still have a lot to give to the game. I think I still have a lot that I want to accomplish and I think I can go out there and help a defense come together like it should and reach their potential, reach the heights that the defenses that I’ve played on have reached.”
Obviously, the veteran cornerback hasn’t received an offer that is good enough financially nor one that is from the competitive team he desires to play for.
On the Badlands podcast, NFL insider Connor Rogers shared some interesting insight on the subject:
“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]. Obviously for decent money and that’s not a problem for New York at this point.”
In other words, Sherman has his sights set on joining a championship team that can utilize his services. If that doesn’t materialize, he would be open to joining the Jets as his fallback option.
There’s a familiarity there with coach Saleh. They spent three seasons together on the 49ers from 2018 through 2020.
The Jets still have over $25 million in cap space, the third-highest in the NFL, so they could easily absorb a contract of Sherman’s magnitude, unlike most teams.
According to Spotrac’s Market Value, the former three-time All-Pro could command a two-year deal for $19.9 million. That would place him 18th among the highest-paid corners in football.
A Tale of Two Philosophies
Some people may be asking themselves, how is Sherman still a free agent?
He boasts an incredible resume that features a Super Bowl ring, five Pro Bowls, and is still playing at an incredibly high level.
Well, it’s a tale of two philosophies that Sherman is well aware of:
“Well, apparently we got to wait ’til the draft happens before anything else shakes out, because everybody has their hopes and dreams in the draft, which is understandable,” Sherman said on a podcast with Cris Collinsworth. “You turn 33, and then it’s like, ‘We’ll wait until we get a young pup. And if we can’t get a young pup, we’ll take an old fool.’ So that’s where we’re sitting.”
The veteran corner said this prior to the 2021 NFL draft, but obviously, it still holds merit. NFL teams would love to fill the holes on their roster with the cheapest possible labor. That normally comes via the draft.
Although everybody doesn’t walk away getting every player they wanted.
The Jets for instance had a bunch of young pups prior to the draft and only added more on day three. Now it’s up to coach Saleh to decide which way he wants to lean.
Does he just say screw it, it’ll be baptism by fire for my young corners, but in the long run they’ll get invaluable inexperience and development?
Or does Saleh sign a proven commodity in Sherman to hold down the fort for the next two years?
The Jets should opt for the latter.
Not only will Sherman bring great play at his position, but he’ll be a mouthpiece for this regime. ‘All Gas, No Brake’ is a brand new motto on 1 Jets Drive, what does that even mean? Sherman can explain expectations, the intricacies of the scheme, and how to be a professional.
He’s been through the ups and downs and he can share those thoughts with the younger players on the roster. Whether the Jets are the primary or backup option is irrelevant. Landing a player like Sherman this late in the process would be a massive win for this organization on and off the field.