Arguably the biggest name remaining on a picked-over market, unrestricted free agent cornerback Richard Sherman again is being linked to a potential union with the Dallas Cowboys.
Sherman, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers, was named by Bleacher Report as the one available player whom the Cowboys “must” consider signing prior to the 2021 season — and, preferably, before the upcoming NFL draft, which begins April 29.
Via BR’s Alex Kay:
Richard Sherman would not only give the Cowboys a big name at the cornerback position but also a player who can still make a huge impact despite his fading athleticism. The 33-year-old may have lost a step, but he has an incredible football IQ, reads quarterbacks well and positions himself to not get beat by faster opponents.
Sherman is arguably the best corner yet to be signed at a position Dallas must address before the 2021 campaign starts. Trevon Diggs earned a starting corner job as a rookie last year but was burned several times and gave up a number of big plays. Sherman won’t get beat nearly as often, so Dallas must prioritize getting him in the lineup and shoring up a major area of concern.
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The Pursuit That Never Happened
ESPN insiders Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano reported in March that the Cowboys were among three legitimate suitors for Sherman, a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time first-team All-Pro, and Super Bowl 48 champion.
Fowler and Graziano connected the dots due to his familiarity with new Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who coached Sherman in Seattle. They also mentioned the Las Vegas Raiders as a prime landing spot after head coach Jon Gruden all but tampered in February by publicly pitching the 2013 NFL interceptions leader on Sin City.
But the Cowboys never came calling. Gruden and the Raiders didn’t, either. Sherman’s market, surprisingly, was (and continues to be) ice-cold, save for a March 16 report that cap-strapped New Orleans had expressed surface-level interest.
Spotrac.com projects Sherman’s free-agent value at $19.989 million over two years, which would make him the league’s 18th-highest-paid CB with an annual salary of $9.9 million.
However, at this juncture of the offseason, and at his advanced age (33), he likely won’t land anything more than a one-year, possibly incentive-laden, prove-it deal from a willing contender.
The Cowboys — who’ve added 10 outside players this offseason, none of them cornerbacks — currently are down to $8.465 million in salary-cap room, according to Spotrac.com.
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Sure, the Cowboys always could use an infusion of defensive talent, especially of Sherman’s magnitude, but things aren’t as dire in the secondary as once perceived.
Although Chidobe Awuzie bolted via free agency, the team locked down starting slot CB Jourdan Lewis with a three-year contract and its brain trust is extremely high on now-sophomore boundary corner Trevon Diggs, who led Dallas in INTs as a rookie.
Rather than renting Sherman, whose prime has passed him by, the Cowboys may simply opt to stock the cupboard through the draft, for which they hold 10 total selections — including the No. 10 overall choice that’s been heavily linked to Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II.
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL