Trading Richard Sherman would make zero sense for the Seahawks

In the past week or so, the question of whether the Seattle Seahawks should consider trading Richard Sherman has picked up steam both locally and nationally.

During a podcast on The Ringer, former league executive Mike Lombardi suggested that the New Orleans Saints might be better off trying to acquire Sherman instead of New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler.

"I truly believe based on what I hear around the National Football League that the Seahawks would in fact for the right deal trade Richard Sherman," Lombardi said.

"Seattle really thought twice about paying Richard Sherman [in 2014]. They thought they had to when they won the Super Bowl."

Does it make sense for the Seahawks to gauge the trade interest in Sherman around the league? The answer here is a resounding no for the reasons listed below.

Sherman is an elite player

Above all else, Seahawks cornerbacks are asked to eliminate big plays over the top. Sherman defends the fade better than anyone in football. His 30 interceptions since entering the league are four more than any other player and 10 more than any other corner.

Sherman has never missed a game (a string of 108 straight, including the playoffs) and has played at a consistently high level.

When I asked coach Pete Carroll last year why he's comfortable using a single high safety so often, the first thing he pointed to was the play of his corners. Sherman has been a perfect fit for what Carroll wants to do.

Sherman is not easily replaceable

The argument that the Seahawks could easily replace Sherman in this draft is silly. Yes, there are a lot of cornerbacks in this class that fit Seattle's physical profile, and the team should definitely address the position. But not to replace Sherman. Instead, to complement him.

The Seahawks are thin at corner with DeShawn Shead rehabbing from a serious knee injury and Jeremy Lane coming off a down year. Trading Sherman would create an immediate hole, and Seattle would be going into the season (one with Super Bowl expectations) with a giant question mark at an important position.

Seattle plays plenty of Cover 3, but the Seahawks also employ a fair share of man coverage -- specifically on third downs. In the past two years under defensive coordinator Kris Richard, Sherman has been used more to shadow opposing No. 1 wide receivers and has had a lot of success.

To expect a rookie to come in and give the Seahawks elite production right away is far-fetched. Even with guys like Byron Maxwell and Shead, developing them into quality starters took years, not months.

The Seahawks' salary-cap situation is not dire

Creating cap space at this point in the offseason would not do the Seahawks much good, considering the free agents who are left on the market.

And looking ahead to next offseason, the Seahawks are not in bad cap shape.

OverTheCap.com projects them to have $45.4 million in cap space. That's more than they had going into this free-agency period ($26.6 million). Seattle has players such as Kam Chancellor, Jimmy Graham and Justin Britt entering the final year of their deals. But the Seahawks can create more cap room if they move on from guys such as Lane, Jermaine Kearse or Ahtyba Rubin next offseason.

The Seahawks have done a great job of locking up their core players while still maintaining the flexibility to add supplemental pieces. They do not need to trade Sherman for financial flexibility.

It's the coach's job to manage challenging personalities

Last year was a tumultuous one for Sherman. He had two separate sideline blow-ups -- one directed at Richard and another directed at offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and Carroll. After the second one, Carroll expected Sherman to apologize publicly. He did not. He doubled down on his argument that the Seahawks should not be passing the ball from the opponents' 1-yard line.

Was his behavior a problem? Absolutely. Carroll admitted as much. And receiver Doug Baldwin had some strong words on the topic recently as well.

But the bottom line is that it's Carroll's job to handle difficult situations with talented players, and he's fully aware of that. It's one of the reasons why Seahawks owner Paul Allen is paying him.

Bad coaches and bad organizations get rid of talented players when difficult situations arise because they think they can scheme their way to success, even though that's rarely the case.

That's not Carroll. He knows he needs talented players and has built his program on encouraging them to let their personalities show. There are both positives and negatives to his philosophy. But one of Carroll's goals going into next season will be to find a way to communicate with Sherman and let him know what's acceptable and what's not.


General manager John Schneider said last year that 90 percent of his job is listening -- to his staff, coaches, players, agents and other teams. He views every trade and free-agent signing as a possibility -- until it's not.

In other words, Schneider would be willing to have a conversation about every player on the roster, but there is no realistic deal involving Sherman that makes sense.

The Seahawks are positioned to win a Super Bowl now, and their chances are clearly better with Sherman than without him.