The Seattle Seahawks have made considerable progress towards getting corner Richard Sherman signed to a long-term contract, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Both sides are hopeful of getting the deal done prior to the May 8-10 NFL Draft.
The Seahawks are prepared to make Sherman the NFL's highest-paid corner -- and the deal will surpass Darrelle Revis's $12M compensation for 2014 -- but the question remains by just how much.
Several league sources anticipate the contract will be worth more than $13M a season when finalized, with the Seahawks reluctant to go to $14M thus far. The corner market has undergone a reset in recent years, with Revis' $16 million-a-year deal with Tampa seen as an outlier. Unable to trade that contract, the Bucs released Revis, who signed with the Patriots for what amounts to a one-year, $12M deal.
Sherman's new agents, Ben Dogra and Jimmy Sexton of CAA, have been in dialogue with the Seahawks for quite some time and the negotiations have been amicable and productive. While it would be unfair to say a deal is imminent, it is also hardly out of the question it gets concluded in the next few weeks, with the issue a priority for Seattle, a team that must also resolve the long-term future of quarterback Russell Wilson, safety Earl Thomas and left tackle Russell Okung in the next year or so.
Sherman, whose high-profile persona and shutdown corner skills have made him one of the game's true impact players, has been seeking a top-of-the-market extension, having far outperformed his rookie contract. Sherman, a fifth-round pick in 2011, is scheduled to make only $1.4M this season despite his All-Pro status. He made only $555,000 last season, and putting his salary in line with his market value is the first step to the Seahawks retaining more of their young core.
The new contract will reflect the fact he is the league's top corner, and with the Browns in negotiations with corner Joe Haden on a new deal as well, will set the market at the position. It seems inevitable at this point Sherman will be getting his new deal sooner than later, and it's very possible it comes before the Seahawks start drafting players as they attempt to repeat as Super Bowl champs. Patrick Peterson, who will discuss a new deal with the Cardinals this summer and whose 2015 option has already been exercised, will watch Sherman's final numbers closely.