The NFL's worst-kept secret became official news on Friday: the Seattle Seahawks have released four-time All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman.
Sherman, who turns 30 at the end of this month, started every game for Seattle from Week 1 in 2012 to Week 10 of last season, when he tore his Achilles tendon against Arizona. He was due $11 million in salary in 2018, and the Seahawks asked him to take a pay cut. He refused, believing he could get a better offer on the open market, and the Seahawks agreed to release him. Both player and team have left the door open to a return, but in all likelihood one of the 31 other teams in the league will offer more money than the Seahawks would be willing to pay.
"[They] want me to understand that the door's open for me to return," Sherman said in an interview with Gee Scott of KIRO-FM radio in Seattle. "They're just trying to do what they need to do to clear up space and give me and them the best chance at free agency, and I've got to appreciate and respect that."
UPDATE: Just adding that Sherman was having one of his better seasons in 2017 before he got hurt. According to Sports Info Solutions, he finished 16th among qualifying cornerbacks with 6.0 yards allowed per pass, and 17th with a 61 percent success rate (subscription required).
UPDATE: Well that didn't take long. Barely 24 hours after being released by Seattle, Sherman has signed with the division rival San Francisco 49ers. Initial reports say it is a three-year, $39 million deal, with a $5 million bonus. We'll have to see what portion of that contract is actually guaranteed, but on the surface it appears he's going to get a substantial raise out of this whole turn of events.