Richard Sherman: Should Stars Accept Big Pay Days or Take Cuts to Help Team?

By Jack Delaney
Richard Sherman Contract Extension
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

He says that he is the best corner in the NFL, and the stats and big play abilities of Richard Sherman certainly help to justify his case. Now with a contract extension of $56 million, $40 million of which is reportedly guaranteed, he now has the money to back up his claims as well.

There is no arguing the talent that Sherman brings to the Seattle Seahawks. In his three years with the team, Sherman has accumulated 166 total tackles, 20 interceptions, 227 interception yards and 57 defended passes. In the final moments of the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, the 26-year-old corner tipped a pass intended for receiver Michael Crabtree that helped seal a 23-17 victory for the Seahawks. That victory propelled Seattle into the most important game of the year against the Denver Broncos, and the Seahawks are now the 2013-14 Super Bowl Champions.

I am not starting an argument on whether athletes are overpaid or not. It would be amazing if teachers, police officers and fire fighters could make millions of dollars, but that isn’t the world we live in. People envy athletes when they get contracts like this, but it places the athlete in a difficult spot. I don’t blame you for feeling a lack of sympathy for someone who makes more money in a year than the average person can make in a lifetime, but take a moment to step inside the shoes of a top rated athlete.

Sherman is a dominant force on the field, and he is a big reason why Seattle had the first ranked pass defense and the seventh ranked rush defense in the NFL. If you are a top performer at your job and have helped your organization reach the highest point of success, you obviously wanted to be compensated as such. Being offered anything less than what you are worth is viewed as a sign of disrespect, and your self worth will take a hit because you feel that your company doesn’t appreciate or value your hard work.

Now, what if your boss told you that you could get a huge pay increase that would reward you over the next few years for your past and current contributions, but the company wouldn’t be able to keep some of the other employees or bring in new talented workers because of your pay increase? Athletes are then forced to decide whether to accept money that will make them look greedy and could potentially hurt the team, or take a pay cut and miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Most players would give anything to win a Super Bowl, but in such an unpredictable sport where your career could end in a moment’s notice, it is important to take care of yourself and those who depend on you while you have the chance. Fans find it easy to criticize players for leaving a team for a bigger pay day, but the average Joe would take a new deal worth millions of dollars in a heartbeat. Some athletes will take pay decreases to help a team, but in either situation, the player shouldn’t be judged harshly for doing what he feels is right.

The ramifications of this deal will be more closely analyzed once everything is finalized, but it will have some type of effect on the future of the Seahawks. I have no issue with Sherman taking this money, as he deserves to be paid like an elite player. I think fans would be a little less critical of sport stars signing these contracts if they realized these athletes are just trying to protect their families and livelihood, just like everyone else tries to do.

As Rocky Balboa once said, “If you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth.” That is exactly what Sherman is doing.

Jack Delaney is a fantasy football writer for You can follow him on Twitter @jackbmore13, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google

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