There's this funny thing about earning a huge contract in professional sports. When more money is involved, so are heightened expectations.
Since he's entered the league, Sherman has set out to prove everyone wrong: those who believed he was a 3-star talent coming out of high school; those who didn't believe he was worthy of going any higher than the middle rounds of the 2011 NFL draft.
And after setting those doubters straight, Sherman set out to be something that further exceeded anyone's expectations—the top defensive back in the NFL.
How much did Sherman want to be known as the best? He was so intent on taking that crown that he set out before last year's Super Bowl to convince NFL fans that he was better than Darrelle Revis:
Since that point, Revis fell somewhat off the map with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and will now try to experience a resurgence with the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, Sherman has done everything possible to put his name at the top of the list, including leading his team to a Super Bowl victory.
To say a huge contract is well deserved is a bit of an understatement, and that's exactly what Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports is reporting for the Seahawks corner:
La Canfora provides more details in his article:
The Seattle Seahawks have made considerable progress towards getting corner Richard Sherman signed to a long-term contract, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Both sides are hopeful of getting the deal done prior to the May 8-10 NFL Draft.
The Seahawks are prepared to make Sherman the NFL's highest-paid corner -- and the deal will surpass Darrelle Revis's $12M compensation for 2014 -- but the question remains by just how much.
All Sherman did during the 2013 season was strike fear in every offense he went up against. He managed to put up big numbers even as quarterbacks were reluctant to challenge him.
Compiling eight interceptions for 125 yards and a touchdown, 16 passes defensed and 48 total tackles was nothing in comparison to the pivotal deflected pass against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.
While Sherman has become known for his trash talk and great play on the field, he's also become an indelible part of the Seahawks organization. The same man that came into the league with a chip on his shoulder joined an entire group of players looking to prove the world wrong right along with him.
Players like Russell Wilson and Kam Chancellor were overlooked but are now Super Bowl champions after outstanding seasons and memorable performances on the big stage. After helping the team hoist its first ever Lombardi Trophy, Sherman wrote about that doubt in a MMQB article with Sports Illustrated:
The No. 1 motivation throughout these playoffs and in the Super Bowl was doubt. Some said Denver’s offense would outgun us. They said nobody cares about defense anymore. But we wanted to cement our legacy as one of the best defenses to ever play in the NFL, and we did that.
On a defense where the secondary is clearly the strength, Sherman is the best player in that group. While Earl Thomas III has earned his position as one of the best safeties in the NFL, there is no question anymore about the best corner.
Recently, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report made that message abundantly clear as he highlighted Sherman's strengths in Seattle:
The NFL’s best coverage cornerback, Richard Sherman (6’3”, 195 lbs, three seasons) has emerged as the prototype at the position. It’s rare to command the respect from quarterbacks that Sherman receives and still be able to attack the ball and create turnovers, but his eight interceptions in 2013 are evidence of that.
Sherman’s speed, length and aggressive use of his body make him nearly impossible to beat. He’s excellent at coming underneath the hands of a receiver—on jump balls especially—to break up the pass. And when running with receivers, Sherman is able to play step for step to limit targets. Sherman’s length and how aggressive he is from the second the ball is snapped allow him to be in constant position to affect the pass.
Does Sherman deserve to be the highest-paid corner?
The player who was second on that list? None other than Mr. Revis, proving that Sherman has officially accomplished his goal of taking over the top spot in the league.
Putting it simply, Sherman has changed the position. Every NFL scout and coach is looking for the "next Richard Sherman," a cornerback who has the size and speed of Sherman that makes him a nightmare for even the elite quarterbacks in the league.
The only issue with that is that there is no one else like Richard Sherman. He's the greatest for a reason and will stay at the top of that throne for the foreseeable future.
Put any pressure on Sherman you want—he can take it.
Follow R. Cory Smith on Twitter: