The idea of Richard Sherman playing at the safety position is nothing new. The 11-year veteran has entertained the idea of playing the position for quite some time. In 2018, while playing for the San Francisco 49ers, Sherman stated to media that “At some point, everybody makes the transition to safety, and if you’re smart enough to play that game and I’ll probably do that in a couple of years or whenever the team needs.”
The veteran has played cornerback primarily but admitted that playing at the safety position would allow him the opportunity to survey the field better and put himself into more situations, allowing him to make plays.
“At corner, I’ve had games where I haven’t got a look, thrown at, and at safety, you can see exactly where the ball goes, and you can make an impact. You can get in on every tackle just about because you’re in the center of everything, kind of like the Mike. But it’s something I’m definitely going to consider later in my career, and hopefully, I’ll be just as good there.”
Those statements were made in 2018, so the thought of playing at safety was not too far in the back of his mind.
Richard Sherman has been on the Injured Reserve since the middle of November for a calf injury he sustained during pre-game warm-ups in Week 10 prior to taking on the Washington Football Team. As we head into Week 14, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians addressed several members of media on Tuesday. He was asked whether or not there was a possibility of Sherman being activated from IR ahead of facing the Buffalo Bills. Bruce Arians stated that it is a possibility; and that he will start learning the safety position.
“That’s a possibility, yeah. He’s going to start learning safety also. That’s the beauty of having ‘Sherm’ here — he’s a veteran player who can play a lot of positions. We’ll look at that this week and see if that’s a fit for us.”
There is no question that Richard Sherman has lost a step or two due to various injuries to the lower part of his body over the past 4 or 5 seasons. Whether or not that has anything to do with the idea of him transitioning to the safety position, it brings back to when another star cornerback, specifically, one who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also late in his career transitioned to the safety position; Ronde Barber in 2012.
Ronde Barber was heading to the end of his NFL career and made the move to safety. Barber was quite successful as a safety, recording 4 interceptions for 160 yards, one touchdown, 13 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, and 92 combined tackles. Barber called it quits following the 2012 season but not before handing in one of his better seasons in almost a decade.
The idea of Sherman playing at the safety position, ideally free safety, is not such a bad one. Sherman has the skills to play andy DB position on the field, and having him at safety would relieve some of the stress to his body that would occur having to pace wide receivers, which in turn would help avoid further leg injury.