Richard Sherman went on a tweet storm today because he hit his incentives and now wants to tell everyone who doubted him that the $9 million per year contract he signed is a good contract.
Not every agent gets the best contract they can get for their player, which is a part of his argument. Not every agent is that qualified. Plenty of agents get draft picks because they’re ready to pay for training or they’re good at networking, not because they’re contract experts.
Not every agent being very good is a fair assumption. I agree. But most are pretty good. And all of them are more competent than Richard Sherman.
My real issue with the rant is that he called out Joe Thomas for correctly stating that the Pro Football Focus’ cornerback of the decadegot duped into signing a three-year prove it deal WITHOUT FIELDING ANY OTHER OFFERS because his ego was enticed by the potential of playing the Seattle Seahawks twice a season. He needed to show the Seahawks. He said as much.
The soon to be 30-year old Sherman was coming off a torn Achilles, but he was still considered a top cornerback and he was just named the top cornerback of the decade. That has value, despite a torn Achilles considering he was on the road to a comeback.
Just like fellow Legion of Boom brethren Earl Thomas was considered a top safety when he went down with a broken leg, then David Mulugheta of Athlete’s First signed him to a near market setting $13.75 million per year deal.
The torn Achilles doesn’t excuse him though. This is a horrible contract.
It was essentially a prove-it deal. It still is.
He received $9 million per year with a $3 million signing bonus. The average per year and the $5 million signing bonus that Aqib Talib signed…in 2014, at 28 years old himself.
The $3 million signing bonus means he could have been cut by a team with a ton of cap space with just a $2 million consequence this year. It was essentially $8.8 million in cash in year one to get the right to play for a potential $13.05 million per year over the life of the contract.
Sherman had only $7 million in salary for this year, year two. If he got injured, there goes the $2 million roster bonus right away.
A number he essentially only reaches if he plays at an AP All-Pro level every year, plays 90% of snaps, makes the Pro Bowl, and plays every game. The contract’s per game roster bonuses total $2 million in each season. Which means $125,000 is tied to him being active every game, so if he had any issues coming back from the injury, he would’ve lost out on that money.
So he signed a one-year prove it deal that’s three year built in earnings puts him in the much less prestigious slot cornerback or wide receiver market (that $9 million area) for the right to be paid as what would now be the 10th highest paid cornerback.
And if he wasn’t playing well, they just would have cut him.
Talk about protecting yourself and maximizing your value!
According to Over The Cap, he was the most valuable cornerback in the NFL in 2019 with a production value of $14.7 million. So he produced at this top of market level, while busting his ass to get incentives that will just pay him what he should have signed for. And he won’t get those incentives every year.
Even if you’re coming off an Achilles injury, as one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL in a market where Trumaine Johnson and Josh Norman had earned $14.5 and $15 million per year in years prior, you’re supposed to get $13 million per year as a starting point. You’re not supposed to have to keep proving you’re one of the best players in the league to earn that.
Sherman also said he spent ten to 12 hours researching contracts to prepare for his negotiation.
You think 12 hours is doing the research?!
He should join a Jiu Jitsu gym and see what 12 hours looks versus 6 months, three years, then five, 10, or 20. Dude needs to get taken down and mushed by a 135-pound computer programmer with a purple belt.
If you’re going to try to negotiate with Paraag Marathe of 49ers with 12 hours of practiced and you’re going to get treated like how a black belt treats a white belt. Which is what Sherman is. A white belt. His contracts is the off-mat equivalent of getting tapped six times in five minutes.
One would think that being one of the best cornerbacks of all-time would be enough for someone’s ego, but he has to pretend that his communications degree from Stanford is the same as a Law Degree or a Master’s of Business, plus years of experience in analyzing and working in the business of being an agent, and that’s just delusional.
You don’t make it out of Compton to become a Stanford graduate or become one of the greatest cornerbacks of all-time without having the attitude Sherman has. You can’t accomplish such heights without some bit of ego and his massive one has served him well. Good for him. He’s an incredible success story and I have a ton of respect for what he has accomplished.
It’s just that a chip on your shoulder attitude can make oneself sound dumb sometimes and that’s okay too. He’s still a legend, but let’s just tone it down a little and live here in reality with the rest of us.
If you liked this article and want to learn more about the salary cap and contracts, my book Caponomics is available for $14.99 on Amazon. I will have a large
Zack Moore is a certified NFL agent, a writer for OverTheCap.com and OnnitGymMMA.com, as well as the author of “Caponomics: Building Super Bowl Champions,” a book that breaks down how Super Bowl champions are built in the NFL’s salary cap era and discusses how NFL front offices can best allocate resources to create successful teams.
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