RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Richard Sherman finally got the attention of being a top pick.
Standing on the stage with the spotlight directly on him and holding a Seattle jersey with his name across the back, the All-Pro cornerback became the latest player in the Seahawks secondary to be locked up for the long term.
And he's getting paid the best of anyone. "I guess this is how it feels to be a first rounder," Sherman said. Sherman signed a four-year contract extension Wednesday with the Seahawks, making him one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in NFL history. Sherman announced the deal on his website and later confirmed the new deal is set to keep him in a Seahawks uniform through the 2018 season. Sherman wrote that the extension is for $57.4 million with $40 million guaranteed.
Sherman wrote on his website that there is no other team or city that he would want to play for. "The goal has always been to stay in Seattle and continue to play for the Seahawks," Sherman wrote. "With this chapter closed, I can continue to focus on what is important — defending our Super Bowl Championship and being the best cornerback in the NFL."
Sherman's deal wraps up a solid offseason for the Seahawks prior to the NFL draft. Seattle re-signed defensive end Michael Bennett before the start of free agency. They then reached extensions with coach Pete Carroll through 2016 and a four-year, $40 million extension with All-Pro free safety Earl Thomas.
Now Sherman, a two-time All-Pro selection, is locked up as well. Thomas and Sherman are under contract through the 2018 season, while strong safety Kam Chancellor is under contract through 2017. "It was headed in the right direction for several weeks," Seattle general manager John Schneider said. "I thought it was time to get it tied up and let everybody move forward."
Sherman insisted getting paid will not change the attitude that took him from being a lower-round draft pick into one of the top cornerbacks in football. He still remembers that 23 other cornerbacks were selected ahead of him in the 2011 draft.
"I don't think you can ever plan this as part of any journey. ... It's one of those things you have to accept and really appreciate and still have the same hunger," Sherman said. Sherman said it was important to get the extension done before the start of the 2014 season and take any lingering doubt about his future out of the equation before potentially becoming a free agent. He made a point of thanking nearly everyone on the Seahawks defense during his opening remarks. Sherman wanted to spend his career playing alongside Thomas and Chancellor as part of a secondary that has developed into the best in the league.
He also had a quip for the Seahawks owner. "I'd like to thank Paul Allen for anteing up," Sherman said. Never lacking in confidence, Sherman has gained as much attention for his play as his antics. Whether it was his rant after the NFC championship game win over San Francisco or attending the White House Correspondents' dinner last weekend, Sherman's name is known outside of just football.
"The thing I struggle with Richard on is his confidence level," Schneider joked.