The Dallas Cowboys went big on defense in the recent NFL draft, with eight of their 11 picks used to take players from that side of the ball. Besides the kids, however, the Cowboys dove headfirst into the free-agent market, including two safeties to help patch up a unit that had a lot of trouble keeping teams out of the end zone. But could that mean there is interest in free-agent cornerback Richard Sherman?
Hiring Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator has caused a lot of speculation connecting the dots between Quinn and the former All-Pro cornerback. Before Quinn coached the Atlanta Falcons to a Super Bowl appearance, he was the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks for two seasons. The Seahawks reached the Super Bowl each year, winning once and losing the other. Given the Quinn connection, the buzz around a Sherman-Dallas union has been loud.
Mike McCarthy didn’t say no to the Dallas Cowboys adding Sherman
During an appearance on The Cris Collinsworth Podcast, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t dismiss the notion of Dallas making a run at Richard Sherman. But it wasn’t exactly an enthusiastic endorsement, either.
“Well, the one thing we talk about all the time, we’re always looking, we’re always looking to upgrade and add. There’s no question there, but also the salary cap, what’s in front of us, too, is something that we’re very focused on, too. I think that’s why you saw. I mean, the 11 draft picks was by design.
“To be able to select, you know, we had 10 going in, but to be able to have 11 selections this year was very important just in the big picture and the long-term planning for our roster development. So, we’re always looking, but I definitely love the competition that we have on the backend. It’ll be fun to see how this all sorts out.”Mike McCarthy
Yeah, it would help if you had a lot of croutons for that much word salad. Basically, McCarthy said Dallas might sign anyone. Or it might sign no one. Possibly, the Cowboys might sign everyone — score one for using many words to express extraordinarily little.
A lot of attention on the defense in Big D
The Dallas Cowboys surrendered 34 touchdown passes in 2020, the sixth-worst in the NFL. Throw in another 20 touchdowns allowed on the ground, and the kickoff return team seldom had a dull day. The Cowboys were undefeated when they held opponents to less than 20 points. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it only resulted in two wins.
Dallas retained cornerbacks Jourdan Lewis and C.J. Goodwin in free agency. Lewis started 13 games and had two passes defensed to go with 59 tackles. Goodwin had nine tackles as an extra DB. The Cowboys tapped into Quinn’s roots and brought in two of his former secondary players from Atlanta. Safeties Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee will rejoin Quinn in Dallas.
As McCarthy alluded to, however, the Cowboys may not have the budget to add a player with Sherman’s resume. According to Over the Cap, Dallas has roughly $8.9 million in cap space remaining.
What could Richard Sherman bring to Dallas?
Richard Sherman’s contract with the San Francisco 49ers expired after last season. He had signed a three-year, $27.15 million deal while coming back from a torn Achilles’ tendon sustained during his final season in Seattle. Last season, Sherman made $8 million in base salary and another $5.99 million in bonuses.
That rate makes Sherman a tough fit with the cap space the Dallas Cowboys have left. The Cowboys do have Trevon Diggs, who had three interceptions and 14 passes defensed as a rookie last season in just 12 games.
Sherman was limited to missed 11 games last season with a calf injury, intercepting one pass and defending one other in five games. For his career, he has 36 interceptions and 115 pass breakups. He was an All-Pro three straight seasons, 2012–14, in Seattle. Sherman led the NFL in interceptions in 2013, and passes defensed the previous season.
Sherman and the Cowboys collided in the news earlier this offseason when Dallas third-round pick Nahshon Wright, a defensive back from Oregon State, called himself a “more athletic and agile Richard Sherman.”
The rookie later reached out to Sherman, who reacted with a surprised GIF on social media, and the two cleared the air. In any event, the Dallas Cowboys need to solve their defensive problems. Another 6–10 season could have McCarthy polishing up his resume rather quickly.
Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.