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April 10, 2017

Examining the feasibility of the Eagles acquiring Seahawks corner Richard Sherman

Richard Sherman, at the age of 29, is still among the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and he is available. His team, the Seattle Seahawks, have even acknowledged as much on several occasions.

Sherman seems to want to be traded as well. He even responded to tweet from a Philadelphia Eagles fan who is willing to give up his extra bedroom, promising fast wifi speeds, should he come to Philly.

Oh, and hey, the Eagles' most glaring need is at cornerback. Adding Sherman to the mix would instantly give the Eagles' defense a significant boost, and turn their pass defense from a weakness into a strength. They would finally have a player capable of covering divisional foes such as Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, they have the second-lowest cap space in the NFL, with less than $2 million ($1,952,019 as of April 10, to be exact) in breathing room under the cap. Sherman's 2017 cap number is $13,631,000. Any team trading for him would be on the hook for $11,431,000 of that. After extensive research, we have determined that Sherman's $11,431,000 cap hit is a larger number than the $1,952,019 the Eagles have under their cap.

It's also not as if Sherman would come cheaply, trade-compensation-wise. 

Old friend Sheil Kapadia of ESPN (with an assist from another familiar name in Joe Banner) speculated on what it would take to get a deal done, in terms of draft picks.

Former NFL executive and current ESPN analyst Joe Banner pointed to the Darrelle Revis trade in 2013 as a reasonable comparison. Revis was 27 at the time and netted the New York Jets a first-round pick in 2013 and a fourth-round pick in 2014 from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I think the most they could reasonably expect to get is a one and maybe something else thrown in that's late," Banner said.

At 29, Sherman is still a premier cornerback. His contract (two years remaining at $11.431 million and $11 million) is reasonable when compared to his peers.

From the Seahawks' perspective, a first-round pick might be wishful thinking, and the Revis example is a good reason why. As noted by Banner, Sherman is two years older than Revis was when he was dealt. But also, in this case, the Seahawks are clearly the initiators of a potential trade, which will likely hurt their chances of maximizing their return.

Kapadia noted the possibility of a player-for-player trade.

The Seahawks could also be interested in players who are already in the league. They have a need on the offensive line (specifically at tackle), are always looking for additional pass-rush and poked around the wide receiver market in free agency.

Offensive tackle, you say? A week ago, PhillyVoice published an article on what a trade of Jason Peters to the Denver Broncos could look like, based on Denver-area chatter that the Broncos were interested in acquiring Peters. (To be clear, there is no evidence that the Eagles themselves are shopping Peters).

If the Eagles were to trade Peters, they would save $9,700,000. A deal that would include Peters-for-Sherman would allow the Eagles fit Sherman in under their strained cap.

Such a deal from the Eagles' perspective would mean that Lane Johnson would take over at left tackle. There wouldn't be much, if any, dropoff from Peters to Johnson, but the dropoff of Johnson to Halapoulivaati Vaitai at right tackle would likely be drastic, as Eagles fans witnessed a year ago.

There's an argument to be made that Peters would be more valuable to the Eagles in 2017 than Sherman, as a top priority is to give second-year quarterback Carson Wentz as much help as possible on the offensive side of the ball. However, Sherman obviously has far more in the way of an NFL shelf life than Peters, who isn't likely to be in the league more than one or two more years.

Should the Eagles be serious suitors for Sherman? I wouldn't hold your breath, as any deal would almost have to include Peters or some other combination of Eagles players such as Mychal Kendricks or Jason Kelce that would aid them in saving money under the cap to fit Sherman in. But if the Seahawks had interest in Peters or some other combination of Eagles players, a motivated Howie Roseman would have ammo to get to it done.

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