Green Bay Packers: Signing Richard Sherman is a no-brainer

Green Bay Packers, Richard Sherman. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers, Richard Sherman. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

The Green Bay Packers would be wise to sign future Hall of Fame cornerback Richard Sherman in free agency.

After a disastrous performance in the NFC Championship game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past January, it’s probably safe to say the Green Bay Packers won’t be retaining veteran cornerback Kevin King when his contract expires at the start of the new league year on March 17.

Assuming the Packers don’t re-sign King, the team will be left with a massive hole at left cornerback. Might Green Bay take a peek at Richard Sherman in free agency?

Of course, the Packers have a bonafide superstar in Jaire Alexander at the right cornerback spot. But with King’s likely departure, the next man up on the left side is Josh Jackson, who was a healthy scratch more often than not in 2020.

Sherman, who turns 33 on March 30, would give new defensive coordinator Joe Barry a reliable veteran to pair with Alexander. The five-time Pro Bowler tormented Aaron Rodgers during his time with the Seattle Seahawks. Now, the Packers have a chance to acquire Sherman in free agency.

Even in his old age Sherman is still a reliable force in coverage, too. He may not be as fast as he once was (not that he was very fast in the first place), but he still has the instincts and cerebral faculties to play at a high level.

Before he got injured in 2020, Sherman was playing at an above-average starter level. The year prior, he was playing at an All-Pro level. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Sherman was graded out as the No. 1 cornerback in the NFL out of 115 qualifiers in 2019.

The Packers still have some work to do to get under the cap, though. The projected salary cap for each team is expected to be around $180 million for the 2021 season due to a loss of revenue from the coronavirus. A concrete number should be announced in the next few weeks by the league.

As of March 1, Green Bay has committed $191 million in contracts for current players. General manager Brian Gutekunst will need to do some restructuring of contracts and cut some veterans in order to get the team under the cap before March 17.

The good thing about the possibility of signing Sherman is that he likely won’t cost an arm and a leg because of his age and durability over the last few years. He missed 14 of a possible 48 games during his three seasons with the 49ers. Plus, with a deflated salary cap, teams just won’t have as much money to throw around, especially for aging veterans like Sherman.

Still, signing a future Hall of Famer would be a no-brainer if he’s available at the right price. The Packers won’t have a ton to offer Sherman, but if he’s willing to take $6-7 million annually over two years, perhaps Green Bay would take a chance.

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Signing a veteran like Sherman would give the Packers time to groom an heir apparent to pair with Alexander for the next decade. Not to mention the wealth of knowledge he’d provide for a young rookie.