710ESPN Seattle audio: Paying Sherman

Kam Chancellor has a new contract with the Seattle Seahawks. Defensive teammates Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and K.J. Wright can become free agents after the 2014 season. Each could be in line for a new deal in the next year or so.

CB Contracts: 3-year Averages

Sherman's name and contractual future came up in conversation Monday when Brock Huard, Danny O'Neil, John Clayton and I got together for a segment on 710ESPN Seattle.

How much can a team justify paying a top cornerback? That will be a question for the Seahawks to consider when it comes to paying Sherman. Darrelle Revis, Champ Bailey, Brandon Carr and Cortland Finnegan have all been earning at least $10 million per season. Revis, Carr, Joe Haden, Finnegan, Johnathan Joseph and Brandon Flowers have all gotten at least $20 million guaranteed.

The chart shows the NFL cornerbacks with the highest average salaries in the first three years of their contracts. The figures for Revis will be revised once details are known regarding his new deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Sherman has made it clear he thinks there isn't a cornerback better than him in the NFL. He's been a bargain as a fifth-round draft choice. And while Sherman has sounded grateful over the opportunity Seattle has provided for him, expectations for a new contract should be exceedingly high if Sherman continues to play at a high level. Someone would pay top dollar for what he can provide.

It could be the Seahawks. The next couple drafts will be critical in giving the team cheaper alternatives at a few positions. Cornerback is one of those positions. Wide receiver is another. The team will want to have options at those positions while deciding how much to pay Sherman, Sidney Rice and possibly Golden Tate for the long term.