So Richard Sherman is a free agent. This is a major surprise in an offseason full of them for the Seahawks, a team intent on majorly re-tooling its roster and coaching staff in hopes of avoiding stagnation. Whether it works or not is an open question, but they are losing some true franchise greats, and Sherman is probably the best cornerback that team ever had. It’s a sad day for them.
It is, however, a day of opportunity for other teams. There are probably at least 20 franchises and fanbases that will be having conversations about Sherman, at varying levels of seriousness, and one lucky team will actually get him. He’s recovering from an injury, but Sherman is at worst a very good starter, and should be for another couple of seasons at minimum.
Will the Falcons be one of those teams? No, probably not. There’s a simple enough reason for that, and it has to do with both cost and positional strengths on the team’s defense right now.
Here’s the depth chart along the defensive line right now:
Starting DEs: Takkarist McKinley, Vic Beasley
Reserve DEs: Brooks Reed, J’Terius Jones
Starting DTs: Grady Jarrett, Jack Crawford
Reserve DTs: Taniela Tupou, Joey Ivie
And here’s the depth chart at cornerback:
CB1: Desmond Trufant
CB2: Robert Alford
Nickel CB: Brian Poole
Reserves: Damontae Kazee (part-time), Deante Burton
That’s not a super deep group, and I fully expect the Falcons to add to it, likely with a late round draft pick and perhaps the re-signing of Blidi Wreh-Wilson. As awesome as a cornerback group featuring Richard Sherman would be, however, this is not even close to the team’s biggest need, and they have a lot of money tied up in Alford and Tru already. Given that Sherman might play on a one-year deal to rehabilitate his value but won’t be cheap, Atlanta just can’t afford to bring him aboard without making major sacrifices at other key positions of need, particularly that currently unsettled defensive line.
Keep in mind that Sherman is set to make more than $13 million this year, and while he won’t get that on the open market, he’s extremely likely to make at least $8 million per year with some team, possibly the Buccaneers. That’d be out of the team’s price range unless they were starved for cornerback help, and they’re not.
So as much as Dan Quinn and Marquand Manuel would surely love to add Sherman to this intimidating group, the chances of it happening are so vanishingly slim you shouldn’t even waste your time thinking about it. If the Falcons do spend big money in free agency, it figures to be at an offensive skill position or the defensive line, not cornerback.