There’s a period in the NFL off-season between the free agent frenzy and the NFL draft where people get very bored. Rumors start running wild about crazy situations. Some, like Marshawn Lynch coming out of retirement to sign with the Raiders, make sense. Others, like Tom Savage being a high draft pick, do not. However, this doesn’t mean that things don’t come of the crazy rumors. For instance, the Seattle Seahawks are apparently shopping corner Richard Sherman.
The Problem With Richard Sherman and the Oakland Raiders
2013 NFC Championship Game
The first reaction to the Sherman-to-Oakland trade is usually about the relationship between Sherman and Raider wide receiver, Michael Crabtree. In case anyone has forgotten, Michael Crabtree was a member of the San Francisco 49ers back in 2014 when they faced Sherman and the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game.
Down by six, Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers were marching down the field, their second straight Super Bowl appearance in sight. With 30 seconds left, Kaepernick threw the ball to Crabtree in the corner of the endzone, for what would have been a game-winning touchdown pass. Instead of falling into Crabtree’s hands, it was deflected by a leaping Richard Sherman. It bounced off of Sherman’s hand into the arms of Malcolm Smith, who would ironically become a Raider himself for two years.
After the play, Sherman ran up to Crabtree, offering a handshake. Crabtree, obviously upset, shoved Sherman away. Sherman didn’t take kindly to this, cutting a wrestling promo on Crabtree in an interview with Erin Andrews after the game.
This leads fans believe that Richard Sherman couldn’t coexist with Michael Crabtree on the Raider roster. However, this is not the biggest reason why the trade can’t happen. It’s true that both men might have issues with each other. But it’s far more likely that two grown men could overlook something that happened in the heat of the moment several years ago.
Richard Sherman’s cap hit is well over $13,000,000 over both of the next two seasons. Right now, the Oakland Raiders only have around $27,000,000 in available cap space. Without even mentioning a certain linebacker that needs to be re-signed, a retired running back, or a rookie class that will expect to be paid, the Raiders can’t touch most of that money because of two big reasons. Both quarterback Derek Carr and pass rusher Khalil Mack expect to be paid over the next two seasons, and neither man will be cheap.
In order to play with the Raiders, Richard Sherman would have to take a massive pay cut. Why would he do that when most teams would be willing to pay him that money, including the Seattle Seahawks.
Not only would Richard Sherman’s contract be expensive, but even acquiring his rights would not be cheap. The Seahawks reportedly want a “very good player plus a high draft pick” for Sherman. There are multiple reasons why this alone eliminates the Raiders from contention.
Very Good Player
What “very good player” are the Raiders willing to part with? Derek Carr? Khalil Mack? Both men are worth far too much to the team. Amari Cooper? Gabe Jackson? Karl Joseph? These young players are a part of the team, and the oldest is Jackson at 25 years old. The Raiders are not willing to give part of their foundation away for a 29 year old corner.
High Draft Pick
General manager Reggie McKenzie is a draft genius. His 2014 draft was one of the very best of all time. He’s been able to add pieces like Cooper, Jackson, and Joseph through the draft in recent years, and to surrender a high draft pick isn’t like him. There are teams, like the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots, that might be willing to trade a high profile draft pick away, but the Oakland Raiders will not.
This is one of the deepest drafts for defensive backs in NFL history. As many as 15 corners in this draft have been given first and second round grades. With a glaring need at inside linebacker, why should the Oakland Raiders trade a good player and a high pick when they can get a young, cheap corner in the third or fourth round? It just doesn’t make any sense.
Some people might be wondering how the relationship between the Raiders and Seahawks could benefit from this trade. If the Oakland Raiders don’t trade for Richard Sherman, how could it change things as far as the Marshawn Lynch deal go?
Frankly, it doesn’t matter. The Seattle Seahawks have a little over $9,000,000 in cap space, and if Lynch decided to come out of retirement, he’d suddenly be taking up most of that. The Oakland Raiders wouldn’t have to trade for Lynch, as Seattle would basically be forced to release him.