Feb 2, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) reacts during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
We can continue to thank Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Tom Cruise for this overused sports phrase:
The Seattle Seahawks would like for Richard Sherman to sign a long-term deal. At least, we can assume that this is the desire of the organization. Meanwhile, Richard Sherman would like to get paid. Who wouldn’t?
“Show me the money.”
From Sherman’s perspective, paying a player is about showing respect. This is an understandable perspective, but in professional sports the idea of “respect” is a bit skewed.
A more accurate reality is that paying players is simply about the basics of economics. Namely, supply and demand. The Seahawks may “respect” Richard Sherman, what he has done for the organization and what he might do in the future.
However, if the Seahawks could replace Sherman’s contribution next year with a cheaper player, would they do it? Absolutely. Because Sherman has a unique skill set that is very difficult to replace with just anyone, he can command a high salary.
This isn’t about respect. This is about availability of similar talent.
On occasion a player will get paid a bit over market value as a sort of “thank you” for what they have accomplished. However, that is rare. If that type of situation is going to happen, it may occur in baseball when an aging superstar is brought back for one more year and will essentially be having a farewell tour.
Football is not a sentimental sport. The contracts are not fully guaranteed, and every team has a “perform or you are gone” mentality.
Now, would the Seahawks risk losing Sherman to the open market? Probably not, but players have a short shelf life in this league. Conventional wisdom is that the Seahawks should lock up Sherman, Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson for the “long term.” Truthfully, that window may be fairly narrow.
Sherman is 26. For those of you who are bad at math, he will be 30 in four years. Will he be the same dynamic playmaker when he is 30? Doubtful. He may sign a deal that is five, six or seven years but it could be that only three of those years are guaranteed.
Does Sherman know this? Most likely. Sherman is a very smart guy, and he knows that this is his best opportunity to maximize his earning power. If he were in baseball, he could sign a five or six-year deal right now and still reasonably hope for another contract in his early thirties. The same cannot be said for the NFL, which from a financial standpoint can be brutal, cold and heartless.
One assumes that this deal with get done and that the articles right now will focus on the usual rhetoric of contract negotations. Just don’t expect Sherman to sign for Robinson Cano money…or number of years.