The Seattle Seahawks built an entire franchise identity around their defense, and their defensive secondary in particular. Now, a cornerstone of that group is likely to be heading to free agency.

According to a report from the Seattle Times, the Seahawks are likely to release Richard Sherman Friday.

Seattle did not make any transaction involving Sherman on Thursday. But barring something unexpected, the Seahawks are likely to release the star cornerback Friday, bringing to an end the Seattle career of one of the most iconic players in team history, if not all of Seattle sports.

The Seahawks have explored trade options for Sherman, but nothing materialized, leaving them poised instead to release Sherman on Friday ahead of the beginning of the new league year Wednesday.

Teams aren’t eager to trade for Sherman when they know he’s likely going to be released. ESPN had more on the situation Friday morning:

[Sherman] is coming off a ruptured right Achilles that ended his 2017 season in November and recently had a cleanup procedure on the same part of his other foot. Sherman said last month that he expected to resume running around mid-April or early May. He also told reporters that he has been serving as his own agent for at least the past year.

Sherman, who will turn 30 at the end of March, is entering the final year of a four-year, $56 million extension that he signed in 2014 after the Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII. He is scheduled to count $13.2 million against the 2018 salary cap.

Seattle would save $11 million in cash and cap space by releasing or trading Sherman before June 1.

Sherman will play next season at age 30, so it’s not like he’s beyond the aging curve at his position. This will be the second big departure from the Seahawks defense, as they traded Michael Bennett to the Eagles earlier this week. These moves signal a further shift on their roster as they’re forced to reckon with aging and an evolving salary cap situation. (Russell Wilson is due for another extension after 2019.) Not to mention a challenge from the Rams in the NFC West.

As for Sherman, it stands to reason that he’ll have a few more effective years if he can stay healthy. He might not be the same player who shut down a rival and declared him mediocre in a postgame interview, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a valuable player in the right situation.

And what might that right situation be? Well…

Oh god, that’s definitely happening, isn’t it?

[ESPN]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.