Ted Thomp­son should swing a deal for Richard Sher­man

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Back in April 2006, Green Bay Pack­ers gen­eral man­ager Ted Thomp­son signed then 29-year-old free agent cor­ner­back Charles Wood­son to a seven-year, $52 mil­lion con­tract.

At the time, Wood­son’s name was mud. His play in Oak­land had tailed off. He had bat­tled a string of nag­ging in­juries. And when Wood­son hit free agency, much to his cha­grin, only Green Bay showed in­ter­est.

“I wasn’t happy that day,” Wood­son said in 2009 in­ter­view of sign­ing with Green Bay. “I wasn’t sold on com­ing (to Green Bay), but there were re­ally no other op­tions. It got to a point where I just had to ac­cept what was go­ing on.

“There just wasn’t a lot of in­ter­est, and I tried damn near ev­ery other team. I was amazed.”

That was the last time Thomp­son made a “splash” move with his ros­ter. And it paid off in spades as Wood­son was Green Bay’s best de­fen­sive player for sev­eral sea­sons and a huge part of the Pack­ers’ Su­per Bowl cham­pi­onship team in 2010.

Now, it’s time Green Bay’s ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive gen­eral man­ager does some­thing com­pletely un-Thomp­son-like. It’s time he ex­its the shal­low end of the pool and de­cides to swim with the big kids.

Seattle cor­ner­back Richard Sher­man — who iron­i­cally is also 29 — has hit a cross­roads in his po­ten­tially Hall of Fame ca­reer. Sher­man has re­port­edly asked to be traded. The Sea­hawks seem­ingly have no prob­lem mov­ing him if the price is right.

And if Thomp­son wants to turn the Pack­ers from Su­per Bowl pre­tenders to front-run­ners, adding Sher­man is the best way to go.

As cur­rently con­structed, Green Bay’s de­fense is one of the worst in the NFL. The Pack­ers ranked No. 31 in pass­ing de­fense last year, al­low­ing 269.2 yards per game. Green Bay also ranked a dread­ful 26th in op­po­nent quar­ter­back rat­ing (95.9).

The Pack­ers had no an­swers once they lost Sam Shields to a po­ten­tially ca­reer-end­ing con­cus­sion in­jury last Septem­ber. And when Thomp­son had a chance to find a stand­out cor­ner and stop the bleed­ing in free agency last month, he once again chose to sit on the side­line.

But the shock­ing avail­abil­ity of Sher­man is akin to a sec­ond Christ­mas. And af­ter Thomp­son slept through the hol­i­days the first time around, it’s im­per­a­tive he now slides down the chim­ney with some­thing other than coal.

By now, we’ve all seen this Thomp­son movie over and over. Draft and de­velop. Sign pri­mar­ily your own free agents. And for the most part, lead your team into the post- sea­son, then fall short of great­ness.

In 12 years, Thomp­son has pro­duced just one Su­per Bowl cham­pi­onship, de­spite hav­ing two Hall of Fame quar­ter­backs in his hip pocket. That’s not good enough.

Thomp­son has lived on his Aaron Rodgers draft pick for too long. And his gen­eral re­luc­tance to add play­ers from out­side the or­ga­ni­za­tion has been a gi­ant detri­ment.

Sign­ing Wood­son was one of the few times Thomp­son de­vi­ated from that nar­ra­tive and it led the great­ness. Adding Sher­man could yield sim­i­lar re­sults.

Ac­cord­ing to Pro Foot­ball Weekly, which re­mains the Bi­ble of foot­ball publi­ca­tions, Sher­man was the No. 1 cor­ner­back in the NFL head­ing into the 2015 sea­son. That marked four straight sea­sons Sher­man was in among top-three cor­ners in the NFL.

Sher­man’s play dipped slightly in 2016, but he’s still a Pro Bowl, dif­fer­ence-mak­ing tal­ent. De­spite that fact, nei­ther Sher­man or the Sea­hawks seem in­ter­ested in keep­ing this mar­riage alive.

Sher­man had a side­line blowup with de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Kris Richard in Week 6 last year. Then in Week 15, Sher­man went af­ter head coach Pete Car­roll and of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Dar­rell Bev­ell af­ter the Sea­hawks tried — and failed — to throw the ball from the 1-yard line.

When Seattle tried to do that ex­act thing in the fi­nal sec­onds of Su­per Bowl XLIX, New Eng­land’s Mal­colm But­ler in­ter­cepted Rus­sell Wil­son’s pass and the Pa­tri­ots es­caped with the most dra­matic win in Su­per Bowl his­tory.

“I was let­ting (Car­roll) know,” Sher­man said at the time. “We've al­ready seen how that goes.”

Last week, ESPN re­ported that it was Sher­man who asked to be traded af­ter the sea­son. And with the Sea­hawks more than will­ing to honor that re­quest, the ques­tion be­comes at what ask­ing price?

In 2013, the New York Jets sent 27-year-old Dar­relle Re­vis to Tampa Bay for first- and fourth-round picks. Al­though Sher­man is two years older than Re­vis, that’s prob­a­bly a fair start­ing point.

That should also be a deal Thomp­son makes hap­pen. Since Green Bay’s Su­per Bowl win in 2010, Thomp­son has had six first-round draft picks — and Sher­man is far su­pe­rior to all six.

Thomp­son missed on firstround picks Derek Sher­rod and Da­tone Jones, ap­pears to have struck out with Da­mar­i­ous Ran­dall, and found solid play­ers in Nick Perry and Ha Ha Clin­ton-Dix. The jury is still out on 2016 first-rounder Kenny Clark.

If the Sea­hawks want a high draft pick and a player — as some have hinted — Green Bay should have no is­sues send­ing Ran­dall Cobb west.

The Sea­hawks have been search­ing for qual­ity re­ceivers for years now. In Green Bay, Cobb is no bet­ter than the Pack­ers’ No. 3 wide­out.

And con­sid­er­ing Cobb’s salary cap num­ber is $12.656 mil­lion in 2017 and $12.75 mil­lion in 2018, he’s un­doubt­edly the most over­paid player on Green Bay’s ros­ter.

On the flip side, Sher­man’s con­tract has two years re­main­ing at $11.431 mil­lion in 2017 and $11 mil­lion in 2018. And in to­day’s NFL, that makes Sher­man a rel­a­tive bar­gain.

In the last quar­ter cen­tury, Green Bay added three tran­scen­dent play­ers from out­side the or­ga­ni­za­tion: Brett Favre, Reg­gie White and Wood­son. All three even­tu­ally helped the Pack­ers hoist a Lom­bardi Tro­phy.

Sher­man could be­come the fourth player on this list. Now, it’s up to Thomp­son to de­part from his tired and pre­dictable ways and make Sher­man a Packer.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cor­ner­back Richard Sher­man (right) could make an im­pact sim­i­lar to Charles Wood­son if traded to the Pack­ers.

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