The Green Bay Packers have to know that the cornerback position is their biggest need. Last year’s pass defense was bad (second to last in the NFL), and the struggles at CB were the main culprit.
In a narrative that’s been discussed ad nauseam this offseason, the secondary needs some major work if Green Bay wants to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins could bounce back, and Davon House provides a slight boost to the unit. But losing Micah Hyde and failing to attract other free agents left the secondary in about the same place as when the team got blown out in the NFC Championship game.
So when rumors swirled and were eventually confirmed that Seahawks’ CB Richard Sherman had been placed on the trading block, it was no surprise that Packer Nation felt Green Bay could be a suitor. The three-time first-team All-Pro has been, arguably, the best cornerback in the NFL since entering the league in 2011. He represents a skill level at corner that the Packers haven’t seen since prime Charles Woodson.
Frankly, trading for Sherman makes sense. The latest rumors were that it would take a first- and mid-round pick to get a deal done. That may seem like a hefty price, but here’s the thing: would the Packers be able to draft a player of Sherman’s caliber at #29? The answer is no. Sherman could come in and make a difference immediately, whereas even the top CB in this year’s draft would take time to get to the star Seahawk’s level. He has shown an ability to shut down an entire half of the field, which could turn the league’s second worst pass defense into at least a top-half unit.
Sherman will be 29 during this season, but there’s no reason to think he’ll have a drop off in 2017. He recorded four interceptions last season and has the ability to shut down opponents’ top receivers by himself, a luxury the Packers simply cannot afford with their current roster.
But while Sherman would provide an instant and significant boost to Green Bay’s defense, those Packers fans still holding onto the hope of a trade need to accept that it won’t get done. Ted Thompson hates giving up draft picks, and it’s incredibly hard (if not impossible) to imagine him giving up just a first round pick, much less adding in more. Additionally, the Packers care a lot about players having good attitudes both on and off the field. Sherman’s antics throughout his career, and magnified in 2016, are not something Green Bay would be quick to bring into the fold.
Who knows? Maybe Thompson rolls the dice and adds one of the best defensive players of the decade. Maybe Randall, Rollins, and House bounce back and give Green Bay at least a serviceable secondary.
The high asking price for Sherman seems to point to the cornerback staying put, but things could quickly and easily change. For now, it’s time for the Packers (and their fans) to accept that a player of Sherman’s caliber will likely not be on the team when the season began. The league’s 31st-ranked pass defense will rely on its current players and some rookies to improve and help get Green Bay back to a Super Bowl.——————
Sean Blashe is a Packers fan who grew up in Bears territory and is currently a journalism and history major at Marquette University. Sean is a writer with PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @SeanBlashe .