I’m less interested in the fact that Richard Sherman is the highest-paid cornerback in football, because that’s all temporary. I care more about what it has taken for Richard Sherman go GET that deal (4 years, 50-something million, $40 million guaranteed), which is his being the best cornerback in the game.
Mostly, I just care about the fact that Richard Sherman is going to be with the Seahawks at least through the 2018 season.
Richard Sherman has a lot of haters. He’s brash, he’s arrogant, he talks a mountain of shit. While he’s not necessarily a “me-first” type of player, he certainly encourages all the attention anyone is willing to give him. Plus, he plays on the Seattle Seahawks. Which means he’s NOT playing for 31 of the NFL’s 32 teams. He’s the consummate player you love if he’s on your team, and the player you love to hate if he’s not.
As such, people love making the argument that he’s NOT the greatest cornerback in the game. As if it’s so easy to do what he does.
Here’s what we know: primarily, Richard plays on one side of the field. Which means for the most part, he’s not following the other team’s best receiver all around the field. As if this is some sort of skill he lacks (I’d ask Anquan Boldin in week 2 of last year how he liked having Richard Sherman in his back pocket all day long). Apparently, if you’re not constantly shutting down the other team’s best receiver (or, at least holding him at bay), then you’re lacking. Let’s not forget, Richard Sherman has absolutely put a wall on his side of the field. You’d think that would count for something.
Furthermore, every team that plays the Seahawks knows what they’re going to do on defense. They know exactly where Richard Sherman is going to be at all times. They can counter this by putting their weakest receiver on his side and essentially “neutralize” Sherman. With all of this a matter of public record, isn’t it even MORE amazing that Richard Sherman was able to lead the league in interceptions last year, with 8? Or that he’s been among the league leaders in his first three years with 20 interceptions total? Or that he led the league in passes defended?
Opposing offenses KNOW they can just avoid his side, and yet he’s still the most productive cornerback in the game! I’d like to see Patrick Peterson do that (oh, that’s right, he’s got all of 12 interceptions in the last three years).
Another knock on Richard Sherman is the fact that he’s on the best defense in football. This somehow discounts the fact that Richard Sherman is one of the primary reasons WHY the Seahawks have the best defense in football. But, that’s neither here nor there. Richard Sherman has Earl Thomas to his right, and Earl Thomas is the key to the whole fucking thing. Not to mention the most underrated linebacking corps in the game, and a ruthless defensive line. We’re stacked! There’s no denying this. As such, it has to make Sherman’s job a whole lot easier.
But, do you ever hear anyone knock Michael Jordan for being on some of the best teams of all time in the mid-90s? He had Pippen and Rodman and Kerr and a number of other dynamite role players on that team who all fit together perfectly. Michael Jordan was the best basketball player of all time, yet nobody knocks him for having some of the most talented players of all time around him! They didn’t expect Jordan to put up 50 shots a game, because he didn’t HAVE to put up 50 shots a game. He just needed to do his thing, play within the offense, and the wins would take care of themselves.
So, why are you asking Richard Sherman to move all around the field with the other team’s best receiver if he doesn’t have to? I would understand it if our other cornerbacks were terrible, and we didn’t have the safeties we have. But, we’ve got the BEST safeties and a bunch of other really good corners. So, why put unnecessary pressure on Sherm? Let him play his game, let him lock down his side, and let opposing offenses try to work around him.
I’ll take Richard Sherman over any other corner in football. You can call it blind homerism if you want, but I’ve watched the man work. I’ve seen nearly every game he’s been involved with in the pros. As a rookie, he flashed amazing potential. In 2012, he was really coming on and starting to make a name for himself. From 2012 through 2013, he brought all the attention upon himself, by punking Tom Brady, by arguing over Twitter with Darrelle Revis. When 2013 started, Richard Sherman had the biggest target on his back of any player in the league. What did he do? Did he crumble under the self-inflicted pressure? Hell no! He went out and kicked even MORE ass, culminating with that tipped pass to Malcolm Smith in the NFC Championship Game (aka the REAL Super Bowl XLVIII).
Richard Sherman IS the greatest. Take it from someone who has just written the single-greatest argument as to WHY he’s the greatest.