The Seattle Seahawks seem to be intent on letting every player know that they’re not untouchable. The trade rumors circulating around All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman don’t make a whole lot of sense otherwise.

When Sherman was first asked about this thing, he laughed it off. Some time has passed, and Pete Carroll acknowledged that Sherman’s name has come up in conversations with some teams involving a trade, but nothing really came of it, not receiving the kind of offers that made the Seahawks want to turn the talks into something more substantial. Sherman himself sounded a bit different when asked again about the prospect of playing somewhere else: I wouldn’t want to leave this city and my guys, but understand it’s a business and organizational philosophies change.

Obviously, there’s some sense to that. As important as Sherman has been to the Seahawks rise to prominence since joining the team in 2011 and quickly ascending to be one of the league’s best cornerbacks, as well as the team’s most vocal player, there’s no no-trade clause in place. If he drops in performance and no longer presents himself as a valuable asset to the team, a trade is in the cards. But right now, this seems like the Seahawks delivering a message, not actually trying to move the player.

Richard Sherman

Right now, the Seahawks are in their contention window. They’ve missed the last two Super Bowls after making two in a row, but they remain the class of the NFC West, with a quarterback who seems to survive despite an atrocious offensive line and a defense that is consistently one of the best in the NFL. The main reason for that is their secondary unit, with Sherman as its most prominent player (although not its best). It’s hard to see the Seahawks breaking their secondary unit into pieces right now, which means a more serious rebuild and not just retooling the team per need.

Sherman has two more years on his contract, and in true Seahawks fashion of players being unhappy with their deals, he’s probably going to start talking about an extension soon. His cap hit for 2017 is $13.6 million and it slightly drops for 2018, very reasonable for a 29-year old who has made 3 All-Pro teams and five Pro Bowl selections, and hasn’t missed a single game since entering the league. The Seahawks didn’t flinch when Sherman’s teammate skipped training and two regular season games in the previous season. They’re now telling Sherman that he’s important, but not untradable, yet it won’t happen this season.

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