After helping lead the Seattle Seahawks to the first Super Bowl title in franchise history last season, cornerback Richard Sherman has agreed on a long-term extension that will make him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports first reported the news on Wednesday:
Seahawks are finishing up a new deal w Richard Sherman today that makes him the league's highest paid CB, not QB.— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) May 7, 2014
Glazer specified the length of the deal:
It's a new 4 year extension agreed upon with Richard Sherman making him top paid CB in league— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) May 7, 2014
Tom Pelissero of USA Today provides more details on the numbers:
I'm told real numbers on Sherman extension are 4 years, $56M. So 5 years, $57.431M total.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 7, 2014
John Clayton of ESPN passed along the cap hits on Sherman's new deal:
Sherman's cap numbers are $3,676M, $12,200,000, $14,77M, $13,36M and $13.2 M— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) May 8, 2014
John Boyle of The Everett Herald provides Sherman's comments on the deal:
Richard Sherman: "I'd like to thank Paul Allen for anteing up."— John Boyle (@johnpboyle) May 7, 2014
Richard Sherman says getting paid won't take chip off his shoulder: "There were still 23 corners drafted ahead of me. That won't change."— John Boyle (@johnpboyle) May 7, 2014
ESPN's Adam Schefter also shared details about the team announcing a press conference for Wednesday:
Seahawks called a press conference for 2 ET at which most expect them to announce a new deal for CB Richard Sherman.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 7, 2014
Sherman spoke about the deal on his website and revealed the terms of the agreement:
I am blessed to announce that the Seattle Seahawks and I have reached an agreement on a contract extension. The goal has always been to stay in Seattle and continue to play for the Seahawks. With this chapter closed, I can continue to focus on what is important – defending our Super Bowl Championship and being the best cornerback in the NFL.
This is a great moment for my family, foundations and the people who supported me to this point. Hard work and execution got me to this moment, the Seattle Seahawks have backed up that respect with this contract. The terms of my deal are 4 years for a total of $57.4M with $40M guaranteed. There is no other city or team that I would want to play football for.
Greatness is realized from countless hours of work, studying, practice, sacrifice and courage. This is just the beginning and I will continue to set the bar higher and higher on and off the field.
Much appreciation to the Seattle Seahawks franchise, the coaches, teammates, friends, the fans, my family and the 12s. The support does not go unnoticed and I carry that into each snap. From Compton to Stanford, 5th round draft pick to winning the Super Bowl – dare to be great.
You get out what you put in!
Tom Pelissero of USA Today had some insight on how the extension impacts the year remaining on Sherman's deal:
Sherman says on his website the deal is four years, $57.4 million with $40M guaranteed. Presumably adds onto 1 year remaining.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) May 7, 2014
Unlike previous Super Bowl champions, most notably the 2012 Baltimore Ravens, the Seahawks have remained largely intact this offseason. Sherman was still under contract through 2014, though this new deal will give him a hefty raise from the $1.4 million he was due to make.
Since entering the NFL in 2011, Sherman has recorded 20 interceptions, 59 passes defended and 176 combined tackles. He led the league with eight interceptions in 2013 and finished tied for second in that category two years ago, again with eight picks.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported in February (h/t NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal) that the Seahawks wanted to prioritize Earl Thomas over Sherman in contract talks this offseason, though they wanted to get long-term deals done with both of them. Rosenthal also provided his take on the Seahawks' priorities:
Rapoport noted that safety Earl Thomas and cornerback Richard Sherman both will enter the final year of their contracts in 2014. However, Rapoport noted that Thomas, not Sherman, will be the first priority for a big-money deal.
Sherman will get paid huge eventually, but prioritizing Thomas says a lot. We heard from many Seahawks this week that Thomas is the leader of this defense. He's the player that the team couldn't live without.
The Seahawks eventually locked Thomas up to a four-year, $40 million deal, per Pro Football Talk, leaving the franchise free to negotiate with Sherman:
PFT confirms Seahawks S Earl Thomas signed a four-year, $40 million extension. Highest paid current defensive back on true multi-year deal.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 28, 2014
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported on April 22 that the team had made "considerable progress" toward Sherman's extension and called the situation "a priority for Seattle."
Thomas may be viewed as the leader of Seattle's stellar defense, but Sherman has clearly taken on the biggest role for the team. He is the best cornerback in the NFL—a fact he will happily share with you—and made the biggest play of the year when he tipped Colin Kaepernick's pass intended for Michael Crabtree to Malcolm Smith for the NFC Championship Game-sealing interception.
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Sherman's extension gives Seattle security in the secondary, especially after losing Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner in free agency. It also allows the front office to move onto other things.
With Thomas and Sherman secured to long-term deals, it allows Seattle to pursue an extension for Russell Wilson, who is eligible for such a deal in 2015. Eventually, the salary cap is going to force bigger cuts on the Seahawks than we have already seen, but today is all about securing their immediate future.
Sherman is the pulse of Seattle's team, giving the Seahawks a vocal identity and spirit. He's going to lead the secondary for a long time after having proven more than capable of handling that role.