ichard Sherman became the first Seattle Seahawks cornerback to make the NFL All-Pro team in 2012. He’s also the last Seahawks cornerback to accomplish that feat in 2014 (Sherman was a three-time All-Pro from 2012-13).
But this offseason, Sherman predicts the Seahawks could sign All-Pro cornerback and the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year — cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
On the Feb. 25 episode of The Richard Sherman Podcast, Sherman predicted either the Seahawks or the team’s rival, the San Francisco 49ers (another team Sherman played for in his NFL career) will sign the two-time All-Pro cornerback in free agency.
“The cornerback market is going to be interesting because of how people see Gilmore,” Sherman said. “Gilly (Gilmore) has been fantastic over his entire career, and I look forward to seeing what market he ends up with. I expect him to go west coast — either Seattle or San Francisco to scoop him up and him to thrive.”
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What Stephon Gilmore Would Bring to Seahawks
Gilmore won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019 while leading the NFL with six interceptions and 20 pass defenses. He also recorded 53 combined tackles, a fumble recovery and two defensive touchdowns.
He has 27 interceptions and 116 pass defenses in 10 NFL seasons.
Since 2019, Gilmore hasn’t been an All-Pro cornerback, but that wasn’t necessarily because of his talent. He missed games due to COVID-19 and a torn quad in 2020. Then last year, he began the season on the PUP list after he sat out training camp following his failure to negotiate a new contract.
Despite those hurdles, Gilmore made the Pro Bowl in both 2020 and 2021.
The Pro Football Focus player grades ranked Gilmore the eighth-best cornerback in coverage last season. Furthermore, Gilmore was one of just three of those cornerbacks to be in man-to-man coverage more than 40% of the time.
The biggest question surrounding Gilmore is how much he’ll be able to play. He turns 32 in September, and after missing training camp, Gilmore played more than 60% of his team’s defensive snaps just three times last season.
The PFF staff ranked Gilmore the 15th-best available player, including No. 2 cornerback, set to hit free agency in March. Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic ranked Gilmore the 21st-best player and No. 3 cornerback in the 2022 NFL free agency class.
“If I had to play a game tomorrow and needed a cornerback, Gilmore would be my top choice from [on my list],” Kapadia wrote. “But it’s a lot trickier than that.
“When Gilmore was on the field, he looked like his usual self: a man corner capable of providing consistently sticky coverage. But 32-year-old corners don’t often get paid big money. Gilmore’s market is one of the toughest to project.”
Seahawks’ Cap Situation Heading Into Free Agency
Spotrac reports the Seahawks have a little more than $36 million in salary cap space heading into March. That’s eighth-most in the NFL, but Seattle could possibly re-sign starting cornerback DJ Reed and free safety Quandre Diggs, which would cut into that space.
The Seahawks also face questions along the offensive line with starters Duane Brown, Brandon Shell and Ethan Pocic all set to be free agents. Seattle also should upgrade offensive guard, and the team will have to do that without a first-round pick.
If Gilmore has a lot of suitors, it may be much harder for the Seahawks to sign the two-time All-Pro cornerback than what Sherman says. However, there’s no doubt Seattle could use more elite talent at cornerback after having the 31st-ranked pass defense in 2021.