Richard Sherman is one of the hottest free agents on the market in 2021 — and Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden has made his interest in possibly acquiring the veteran cornerback very clear.
On this week’s episode of the Cris Collinsworth Podcast featuring Richard Sherman, Gruden pushed for the five-time Pro Bowler — siting a need for a defensive “alpha” in his secondary.
“Richard Sherman, if you are a free agent, which there is a rumor you are, we are looking for an alpha presence in our secondary,” Gruden said. “Somebody that could play this Hawk 3-press technique with the read step. If you’re available and interested, maybe you and I can get together at some point off-air.”
The interest seemed to be mutual.
“There’s a conversation to be had, for sure,” Sherman said. “I am free and available these days, fortunately, and unfortunately.”
This exchange certainly raised some eyebrows around the league. Per NFL rules, Sherman’s current 49ers squad have full negotiation rights until free agency opens up in mid March.
According to ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, one anonymous NFL general manager called it “blatant tampering.”
Sherman, one of the most business savvy players in the league, acts as his own agent. He believes the conversation was less tampering, and more just classic offseason sports entertainment.
“I don’t think he was tampering,” Sherman said. “I think it was a good conversation, good entertainment. And if anybody knows how to entertain people and keep them on the edge of their seats, it’s Jon Gruden.
That being said, the free-agent CB couldn’t deny his interest in joining Gruden next season.
“All of this sports is just a big freakin’ reality TV show, as you know,” Sherman said. “But I think there’s legitimate interest. They have a good team. It’s going to be a conversation. There will be a conversation with a few teams and I’ll make the decision that’s best for me and my family, and off we go.”
After three years in San Francisco, the former Seahawks corner seems to be on the outs with the organization. At 33 years old, Sherman will be signing with a new team this offseason unless “something miraculous happens.”
Sherman had one of his best NFL seasons in 2019, notching three interceptions and 61 combined tackles on the year.