Richard Sherman started Friday as a Seahawk but didn't finish it as one.
The team announced it has released the star cornerback after seven seasons, bringing to an end the Seattle career of one of the most iconic players in team history, if not all of Seattle sports.
“Thank you for helping win championships, shape our culture and define success in Seattle,” the Seahawks said in a statement. “We love you and your unwavering competitiveness, confidence and fierce passion for football and life. For that, you will always be a Hawk!”
Seahawks’ statement on the release of Richard Sherman: pic.twitter.com/iUEv9EArr3
— Seattle Seahawks (@seahawksPR) March 9, 2018
By releasing Sherman, the Seahawks save $11 million in salary-cap space for 2018. Doing it by this weekend is a bit of a nod by the team to Sherman, who acts as his own agent: He gets a jump on looking for a new team ahead of Wednesday's start of the new league year.
Despite coming off a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in November, Sherman, who turns 30 late this month, wasn't willing to take a pay cut from the Seahawks. The team explored trades but nothing materialized.
According to the Seattle Times, Sherman preferred to be released rather than traded, anyway, thus becoming a free agent, so he could choose his next team.
The Patriots have a need at cornerback, and Sherman is their preferred pickup. But New England is likely to face tough competition from four other teams, two from the AFC and two from the NFC: the Chargers, Titans, 49ers and Falcons.
Meantime, Seattle's series of moves offers it some alternatives with its growing cap space. The Seahawks could look to re-sign defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson or work on safety Earl Thomas' contract. There is speculation, too, that the team might try to rework quarterback Russell Wilson's contract sooner rather than later.