The Dallas Cowboys have several significant holes on the defense heading into the 2021 offseason. Even with the emergence of rookie Trevon Diggs at cornerback, they will need to find another starter this offseason in free agency or the draft with the potential departures of Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis.
The Cowboys should certainly look to the draft for their long-term answer opposite Diggs. However, they need to look to free agency for a short-term option to help them in 2021. Relying on Diggs and a rookie on the outside isn’t a good recipe for attempting to improve your defense this year.
Perusing the list of cornerbacks heading to free agency this offseason, one name stands out above every other; San Francisco 49ers and former Seattle Seahawks Cornerback Richard Sherman.
The connection to Dan Quinn is the obvious reason as to why this makes sense; however, Sherman is still one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, even in the latter stages of his career.
In 2020, Sherman led the NFL in snaps per reception and snaps per target among cornerbacks that played at least 133 coverage snaps. He was second in the NFL in yards per snap only to Jimmy Smith of the Baltimore Ravens. Richard Sherman’s passer rating allowed of 69.6 was 11th in the NFL.
Sure, it was an injury riddled season. Sherman played just five games. Looking back to 2019, when he played 15 games, Sherman led the NFL in snaps per reception, yards per snap, was fourth in passer rating allowed, and tied for fifth with Byron Jones in snaps per target. Sherman only allowed one touchdown in 2019, and that was a big reason the San Francisco 49ers made it to the Super Bowl.
Richard Sherman could immediately upgrade your cornerback spot opposite Diggs in a scheme he’s very familiar with in Dan Quinn. During Quinn’s time in Seattle, Sherman helped the Seahawks become the best defense in the NFL on their way to a Super Bowl Championship.
Signing a player of Richard Sherman’s caliber wouldn’t preclude you from drafting a cornerback in the first round, whether Patrick Surtain or Caleb Farley. He provides insurance at the position in the event you are unable to get one of the top corners in the 2021 NFL Draft. And even if you can get Farley or Surtain, Sherman’s presence doesn’t put you in any hurry to rush your rookie cornerback onto the field before he’s ready. We got to see first hand in 2020 the kind of learning curve a rookie cornerback is forced to endure.
If your rookie corner comes in and proves he’s ready to take over at the position and Sherman becomes a reserve player, fantastic. That’s what you hope for. But in the event he’s not ready, you have an experienced player that is still playing really good football available for your defense.
It can’t be understated the impact he would have in a young defensive back room. With Diggs, Donovan Wilson, and Anthony Brown expected to return. The Cowboys need some leadership in the secondary, and Sherman instantly provides that. He’s got the skins on the wall to command the respect of the room and help the team transition from Mike Nolan’s defense to Dan Quinn’s.
Mike McCarthy’s Green Bay Packers teams were the beneficiary of another cornerback making a move in the latter stages of his career when Charles Woodson made the move from the Oakland Raiders. He was an impactful player at both cornerback and safety for the Packers.
It’s easy to dismiss the idea because of Sherman’s age, but he’s the veteran you’re looking for to provide stability to your young secondary. The Cowboys aren’t going to spend big in free agency, and coming off a season where he was limited, Sherman may not command top dollar. Reuniting him with Dan Quinn could be a match made in free agent heaven. The Cowboys need players that know what it takes to navigate the playoffs and make it to the Super Bowl. Signing Richard Sherman makes all the sense in the world.