The Richard Sherman era in Seattle ended on Friday with his release, but the Sherman-less era in Seattle might not last long. It turns out, one possibility sees Sherman actually returning to Seattle under a different contract. Shortly after the news of his departure spread, Sherman revealed to multiple reporters that the Seahawks are hoping he ends up back with them after he explores free agency.

"They are gonna let me explore free agency with the hope that I can return," Sherman told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "They just wanted the financial flexibility."

"Wanted to allow me a chance to feel out free agency and allow them to have the financial flexibility going in," he told USA Today's Mike Jones. "They want me to return."

So, could it happen? Let's explore both sides.

Here's why it could happen: Sherman is coming off a season wrecked by a torn Achilles. In terms of timing, entering free agency this offseason is pretty much the worst-case scenario for Sherman because his value is at the lowest it has ever been. Maybe he wants to rebuild his value before signing a long-term contract. So, in theory, he could choose to take less money to return to a team and scheme he's comfortable with on a one-year deal. If he stays healthy and demonstrates the Achilles injury is nothing to worry about, he can hit free agency with a higher stock a year from now.

But that seems like an unlikely scenario mainly because the idea that Sherman needs to take a one-year, prove-it deal to rebuild his value isn't totally realistic. Sure, Sherman is coming off a torn Achilles and will turn 30 later this month, both of which will undoubtedly lower his value, but it's not like Sherman has morphed into a subpar cornerback who is coasting off his name and reputation alone. He's still really damn good, though he's no longer the league's top cornerback. He's more than just a name.

He allowed a 75.5 passer rating in coverage last year, a 68.4 passer rating in 2016, and a 67.6 passer rating in 2015, according to Pro Football Focus. Those are legit CB1 numbers, which Sherman, who is acting as his own agent, is well aware of.

A cornerback-needy team or a contender looking to improve an already talented roster will likely hand him a contract that he's OK with. The Seahawks probably won't be that team because they're lacking the money. According to Spotrac, the Seahawks are projected to own roughly $25 million in cap space next week. By cutting Sherman, they said that they're not willing to pay him $13.2 million (his 2018 cap hit before getting cut) for the 2018 season. That's pretty revealing of their financial situation -- along with their trade of Michael Bennett -- and what they think Sherman is worth.

Sherman returning to Seattle would make for a nice story. But the most-likely scenario sees him leaving for a team that is willing to pay him the money he desires and quite frankly, deserves.