"It has been my understanding all along that Richard Sherman was the one who initiated this," Schefter said on SportsCenter. "He was the one that wanted to be traded initially. The Seahawks were obliging him and his request."
Schefter reiterated his stance Monday.
This is - and was - the situation. https://t.co/Sm5FIzBdfz— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 10, 2017
This angle makes it clearer why general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have been so public in admitting that Sherman is available. There is no fear in upsetting the player in this case, as Sherman is reportedly on board.
Going forward, a sensible deadline for a deal to get done is the NFL draft.
"No reason for it to not happen now," said Joe Banner, a former league executive and current ESPN analyst. "If they get through the draft without it happening, they’re in trouble, as far as moving him. It’s not impossible because some team could be hoping to get some corner in the draft, and then they don’t get him, and maybe they’re interested now. Maybe it’s a 2018 pick instead of a 2017 pick. But if you’re the Seahawks, you really hope to not get yourself in that position."
With that in mind, here's a look at the ways the situation could play out over the next three weeks.
The Seahawks find a team to meet their asking price and trade Sherman.
For argument's sake, let's say the Seahawks are able to get something in this neighborhood. The team would still have a huge hole at cornerback going into the season. DeShawn Shead, a starter last season, is recovering from a significant knee injury and isn't expected to be ready for the start of the season. Jeremy Lane is better suited for a nickel role. Behind them are largely unknowns or unattractive options in Neiko Thorpe, Perrish Cox, Pierre Desir and DeAndre Elliott.
The Seahawks have five picks in the first three rounds and would potentially add more with a Sherman trade. The corner class is loaded with prospects who have the physical dimensions Seattle covets. But still, counting on rookies to play well right away is a huge ask for a team that has legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.
The Seahawks trade Sherman but have to settle on compensation.
This would be the worst-case scenario for Seattle.
"They obviously have not yet gotten a call from somebody making a significant enough offer to move him," Banner said. "So I’m starting to think maybe there isn’t a significant offer out there to move him. And if I’m an interested party, I’m getting a little more conservative in what I might be offering."
The key question here is: Could the Seahawks reach a point where they feel like they can't salvage their relationship with Sherman?
The organization would obviously never admit that publicly. The team wants to maintain its stance that it would be perfectly fine bringing Sherman back if it can't work out a trade. But it's fair to wonder if the Seahawks really feel that way. Remember, they are not just fielding calls. They are reaching out to teams as well.
The Seahawks hold on to Sherman.
This could go one of two ways. One, he comes back, and everything goes smoothly. Sherman talks about the NFL being a business. Schneider and Carroll say they're always open to making moves but were never really close to trading Sherman. They stress how important the cornerback is to the success of the franchise. Both sides move on as quickly as possible and focus on getting to the Super Bowl.
To his credit, Sherman always plays hard, has never missed a game and has too much personal pride and competitiveness to let this affect his on-field play. The Seahawks often appear to be a team that thrives amid chaos and dysfunction. So there's a chance they could bring Sherman back and have success.
Having said that, the spotlight will be on Sherman. Will he show up on time to the voluntary offseason program? How will he react when defensive coordinator Kris Richard makes a call that he doesn't like? Or if offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell calls a pass from the opponents' 1-yard line?
Many of the Seahawks' issues last year were due to the struggles on offense.
"Anytime we score five points, it’s going to be difficult to win the game," Sherman said after a 14-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Part of Sherman's outbursts were due to the team's under-performing. Perhaps he feels the Seahawks have missed their window for another title?
But what's clear is the relationship between the player and the organization is strained. At one point last year, Carroll alluded to Sherman being disciplined. What will his plan be the next time there's an issue?
Carroll's coaching philosophy is based on helping players achieve peak performance. If Sherman returns to the Seahawks, Carroll's challenge will be to mend the relationship, get the most out of his All-Pro cornerback and avoid the issues that led to discontent a year ago.