As Richard Sherman’s time in Seattle appears to be coming to an end, the Green Bay Packers should bite their tongue and stay clear of the elite cornerback.
For a team that has been so porous defensively for years, it makes sense for Packers fans to be urging new general manager Brian Gutekunst to go scoop up Richard Sherman as soon as his time is up in Seattle.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the blockbuster news Wednesday, detailing how even though no formal transaction involving Sherman has taken place, the Seahawks and Sherman are likely to part ways before the beginning of next season.
The Packers are one of the first teams that come to mind when thinking of potential fits for Sherman.
Aaron Rodgers will be 35 years old in December, and the once seemingly eternal championship window is beginning to close. The Packers have been terrible defending the pass for seven consecutive years, and what better way to improve the unit instantly than adding one of the best cornerbacks to play in the game in the last 20 years?
The Packers should not jump into this one, however. With their interest in defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson amping up further and further, they would have to dole out considerable money to Sherman that they would otherwise like to give to Wilkerson or other free agents.
If you have watched a Packers game since the team’s Super Bowl run in 2010, then you know the team severely lacks speed on both sides of the ball. Offensively, the receivers and tight ends are slow with almost no ability to separate from defensive backs. Defensively, the team’s cornerbacks over the years have simply been inferior to the competition.
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While adding Sherman would unquestionably make the Packers’ defense a unit to pay attention to next season, it is important to separate the player they would be putting on the field from the notable name he carries. For one thing, Sherman would not be the jolt of quickness or speed the team so desperately needs.
Sherman’s 40-yard dash time was 4.56 seconds, which contributed to his fall all the way to the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He isn’t the fastest player to begin with, and will be 30 years old in four weeks. Further complicating things, Sherman is coming off of a season-ending Achilles injury that will only be a further detriment to his quickness over the next several years.
The Packers need to look at their roster and understand that they will be better off pursuing younger, quicker players that can actually keep up with receivers from game to game. Sherman can still be one of the best in the game, but for how long is a serious question.
The doubts surrounding Sherman’s health might make his price tag drop a little bit as he enters his 30s, but teams desperate for help defensively with more cap space like the Los Angeles Chargers, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers make more sense. It is also conceivable that Sherman could return to Seattle on a reduced salary or short-term contract.
Adding Richard Sherman to the Packers defense sounds like a dream come true, but it is not the right time or place to make such a move.
The Packers should instead focus their attention on getting a deal done with Muhammad Wilkerson and adding to their pass rush. Second-year cornerback Kevin King has a bright future, and the team will have enough money after Aaron Rodgers’ anticipated contract extension to pursue younger cornerbacks in free agency such as Aaron Colvin.