The New England Patriots are reportedly interested in acquiring Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman if the team moves on from Malcolm Butler this offseason, according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.
That news surfaced after Seahawks general manager John Schneider acknowledged on 710 ESPN Seattle's Brock and Salk show that the team has engaged in trade talks regarding Sherman, as has been rumored, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com:
What you've seen lately in the news is real. That's on both sides. It's just open communication. He knows what's going on. We know what's going on. I don't know if anything would ever happen. But like I tell people all the time, 98 percent of the things we're involved with, we don't follow through with. But at least we've opened that door, gone down the road and seen what's behind door A or door B.
Per Howe's report, however, other teams have pursued Sherman more aggressively than the Patriots. On the other hand, Howe said Sherman would be open to joining the Patriots based on his admiration for the organization and head coach Bill Belichick.
Schneider said the Sherman trade talks began at February's NFL Scouting Combine and that he's had conversations with the star cornerback about the rumors.
"This isn't a secret like it just came out of nowhere," Schneider noted. "People find things out, and we're not going to lie to each other. We're not going to BS each other. It's going to be all laid out."
Sherman, 29, is a four-time Pro Bowler and three-time Associated Press First-Team All-Pro selection. He was arguably the NFL's most dominant cornerback for several years, though he regressed slightly in 2016 and was Pro Football Focus' 10th-ranked cornerback (h/t Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports).
He also had two heated exchanges with coaches on the sidelines last season, per Kapadia, and has garnered a reputation as a brash and outspoken player.
That combination of factors may make his cap hits of $13.6 million in 2017 and $13.2 million in 2018, per Spotrac, harder for the Seahawks to justify. That said, Sherman remains one of the league's better cornerbacks and has been a key player and leader on a Seahawks squad that has reached the postseason five straight years, making him very valuable to the team.
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