With John Schneider stoking the Richard Sherman trade flames, the natural question is what the All-Pro corner thinks of his name being bandied about in the offseason rumor mill.
The Seattle Seahawks general manager said he's been upfront with Sherman about the trade discussions. The corner at first laughed off remarks, then noted it was part of the business. On Wednesday, he told Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com there are no hard feelings.
"Very little chance it happens, but both sides are listening," Sherman said in a text message. "I honestly don't have much more to say about it than what I've already said. We have a great relationship. ... There is a lot of love and respect. There is no bad blood."
There could be several reasons the Seahawks are considering shipping out a franchise cornerstone in the middle of a run with a championship-caliber roster.
1. Seattle is looking ahead at its salary-cap situation and knows it'll have tough decisions down the line in the secondary. Kam Chancellor enters a contract season and Earl Thomas and Sherman are up after 2018. Odds are Seattle can't pay to keep all three. Trading Sherman now, even though he's currently under a reasonable cap number, would be getting value for a player likely to walk for nothing down the line.
2. The draft is stocked at defensive back. If the Seahawks believe they can get younger -- read: cheaper -- at the position without much fall off (good luck), losing Sherman becomes easier.
3. His off-field and sideline antics might have become too much for the coaching staff to handle and they'd like to move on. Or the team could be sending him a message that he's not untouchable by putting him on the trade block.
Breer asked Sherman about that final point -- that the team might be sending him a message. Sherman scoffed at the notion.
"Not at all. I'm not in the least bit concerned about that," he replied.
Sherman might not be concerned with it, but some around him see the trade discussions as the Seahawks trying to rein in their superstar.
Branton Sherman, Richard's older brother and business manager for the Richard Sherman Family Foundation, told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that he believes Seattle is trying to reel in outspoken players.
"At this moment, they are trying to bring Richard Sherman down to earth," Branton told Rapoport. "Trying to regain that power as a front office. At the beginning, it was cool, he gave his opinion and it helped bring him out of nowhere. Now he reaches stardom and you want him to back off the gas because it was portrayed in a negative light in the media. And you got the small rants on the sidelines. And so now you open the door (to trade talks) that shouldn't have been open in the first place."
While we believe trading one of the top corners in the NFL while your Super Bowl window is open would be a foolhardy move, Schneider and coach Pete Carroll didn't get to this point by being cautionary or reactionary. If they find the right deal, it seems Seattle is prepared to move on.