It’s official: The Seahawks have released Richard Sherman. With honors.
The team validated Friday afternoon what had become known hours earlier: Their three-time All-Pro cornerback and cornerstone to the best five years in franchise history is gone.
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The Seahawks’ statements didn’t say why they released him. They didn’t have to. It was to free Sherman’s $11 million in salary as space under this year’s salary cap against which the team’s been pressed. That until now has hindered Seattle’s efforts to sign new players to fill its many needs.
A league source confirmed to The News Tribune that officially Sherman failed an exit physical examination players routinely get at the end of each season, so his designation on the official NFL transactions is waived-failed physical. His physical was at the end of last season after a torn Achilles tendon that ended his 2017--and it turns out Seattle tenure--in early November. He recently had a second Achilles surgery on the other foot.
Per article 45 of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with its players, Sherman, who turns 30 this month, is entitled to up to $1.15 million in injury-protection payments from the Seahawks for being released after failing a team physical. Seattle will not have to pay that money or have that as a cap charge this year if signs with another team. Sherman is now a free agent, free to negotiate while representing himself without an agent with any team, to play for it in 2018.
That includes the Seahawks, who say they want him back if he doesn’t get the price he wants in free agency. But as a three-time All-Pro and Super Bowl champion at the second-most important and difficult position in sports behind cornerback, count on Sherman to get many attractive offers in the market that opens Wednesday.
The Seahawks also released a video tribute to Sherman, starting to his NFL scouting combine seven years ago.
It’s an odd way to cut a player--with a glowing tribute and thanks, as if he retired. But that’s how instrumental Sherman has been to Seattle going to the playoffs five consecutive seasons ending in December, consecutive Super Bowls and to its only NFL championship. That was at the end of the 2013 season when Sherman led the league with eight interceptions.
Sherman’s five full seasons as a starting cornerback here were the best five seasons in franchise history.
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, the only player on the team who has a higher salary than what Sherman was scheduled to make and the Seahawks decided not to pay this year, said goodbye to his now-former teammate on Twitter minutes after the team did.