An offseason of upheaval continued for the Seattle Seahawks on Friday with the release of cornerback Richard Sherman.
Sherman confirmed to 950 KJR that he has been informed of his release by the Seahawks. Additionally, he noted to Albert Breer of the MMQB.com and confirmed to KJR that the Seahawks are leaving the door open for a possible return.
“They wanted the financial flexibility going into free agency but expressed that they wanted me to return and will be in contact," he told Breer.
The release of Sherman helps Seattle save $11 million in salary cap space, which represented the most cap savings of any player on the roster. The Seahawks would certainly be open to Sherman re-signing with the team, albeit at a lower salary than he was set to previously earn with the team this season.
Sherman becomes the latest high-profile departure from the Seahawks this offseason. Defensive end Michael Bennett was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week, Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor may never play again due to career-threatening neck injuries, and now Sherman is the latest to leave the roster.
It's the latest sign of the Seahawks' desire to push the reset button this offseason. Seattle made significant changes to their coaching staff this season with eight coaches leaving the staff, six new coaches hired and three coaches transitioning to new roles. Now Bennett and Sherman head the departures from the roster that will bring a very different look to the roster next season.
Sherman appeared in 105 straight games with 99 consecutive starts before sustaining a torn Achilles in his right leg during a game in Arizona last November. Sherman had a separate surgery this offseason to address bone spurs in his left leg as well.
He has 32 interceptions in seven seasons with Seattle and his tipped pass of a Colin Kaepernick pass to Michael Crabtree in the 2013 NFC Championship was pivotal in the Seahawks winning their first Super Bowl.
He was a three-time, first-team All-Pro and was named to four Pro Bowls in his seven seasons with the Seahawks. For a time, he was the most feared cornerback in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers completely avoided throwing to his side of the field in the 2014 NFC Championship.
Replacing Sherman won't be easy. Shaquill Griffin had an encouraging rookie season. Justin Coleman is likely to draw a restricted free agent tender. Byron Maxwell wants to be back as an unrestricted free agent. DeAndre Elliott is returning from injury, and Mike Tyson will be in his second season after a year on the practice squad. However, expecting any of that group to play to Sherman's standard would be unrealistic.
Jeremy Lane is also being released by the Seahawks, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. Lane's release saves an additional $4.75 million in salary cap space, per OverTheCap.com. The combined moves of Bennett, Sherman and Lane will save Seattle nearly $18 million in cap space heading into the offseason.
Photo Credit: EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 22: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks taunts the crowd after breaking up a potential touchdown against the New York Giants during the first quarter of the game at MetLife Stadium on October 22, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)