NEW YORK -- Just think of it -- Richard Sherman talking everyone up in Foxboro.
It's just what the Patriots need.
The perfect blend of swagger, confidence and skill in the secondary.
Think of the possibilities of Sherman in the AFC East. Sherman calling Miami's Mike Wallace mediocre and overpaid. Sherman rattling Stevie Johnson and telling him that he never has to worry about playing a playoff game in Buffalo in January. Sherman jawing with Jets quarterback Geno Smith, thanking him for a day off.
Sherman could light up the Patriots locker room like never before.
Sure, Aqib Talib is talented. But he's getting old fast. And clearly, he's having trouble staying on the field. And as Deion Sanders told the Herald's Jeff Howe, Talib "hasn't finished" yet, referring to his inability to stay on the field the last two AFC championship games in which Anquan Boldin and Demaryius Thomas, respectively, went gonzo immediately after his departure.
Imagine Sherman on one corner with a maturing Alfonzo Dennard on the other and Devin McCourty calling all the signals.
The Patriots defense is missing someone like Richard Sherman. The team had it in Rodney Harrison, who in all fairness, did most of his talking with bone-jarring hits.
The Patriots could use the best player at his position to give the Patriots just what they need on the back end of a rebuilt defense with young talent like Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Chandler Jones, Alfonzo Dennard and Jerod Mayo.
Sherman appreciates being part of a great defense, not just being its loudest player.
"The Legion of Boom is a legacy," Sherman said of the Seattle defense heading into Super Bowl XLVIII. "It's a legacy, it's a group, it's a legion, it's a vast army of individuals and we have countless bodies behind us that are more than capable of doing the job. It's Kam Chancellor, the enforcer, the punisher, the guy who sets the tone for the defense.
"It's Earl Thomas, the fastest guy on the field, the most knowledgeable, who understands everything; it's Byron Maxwell, making big play after big play after big play. It's Walter Thurmond, doing a heck of a job playing disciplined, sound football. I think it's our identity and it sets a high standard, and it's a standard that I think everybody is more than capable of living up to and has."
Bill Belichick absolutely loves, loves, loves this kind of bravado. It's bravado about his teammates. Being loud is one thing. Sharing glory with your teammates is another.
If I'm Belichick or Nick Caserio, I beef up the defensive line this spring, draft as many big bodies in the middle to prepare for the time when Vince Wilfork is or can't be the anchor in the middle.
Don't spend long-term dollars on Talib. Franchise him ($11.25 million for CBs in 2014) if you absolutely have to but don't give up the chance that Sherman hits the open market after next season. As was the case after the 2006 AFC championship game loss in Indianapolis, there's going to be a lot of speculation and hand-wringing as to how to get Brady more weapons. After that loss, the Pats went out and got Randy Moss and Wes Welker.
There's enough money and cap space in Foxboro to spend now on that. In addition to the $28 million that ended the season on injured reserve, there's another $5.5 million of cap space this summer.
You've waited for the right time to spend your dollars, and Richard Sherman on the back end of a Belichick defense would be something to behold. Nothing is "can't miss," but Sherman in the Patriots secondary is as close as it gets. The Patriots don't believe in overpaying. I get that. But as Tom Brady ages and Vince Wilfork nears retirement, you're going to need replacement anchors in the franchise.
What would Sherman cost? Darrelle Revis signed for six years and $96 million after his trade to Tampa Bay. Dallas signed Brandon Carr for five years and $50.1 million. Cortland Finnegan inked a five-year, $50 million with the Rams, and Houston signed Johnathan Joseph for five years and $48.75 million.
Sherman, who turns 26 in March, would likely -- and rightfully -- demand a six-year deal worth at least $100 million, with at least $25 million guaranteed. He hasn't missed a game in his first three years, which could push the guaranteed money up closer to $40 million.
There is, of course, the possibility that the Seahawks don't let this happen at all. They could franchise him for the 2015 season. They could extend him, making this all a pipe dream. They know what they have in Sherman. He's Chad Ochocinco, only he's actually won a playoff game with his skills, not just his mouth. His play to keep the game-winning pass out of the hands of Michael Crabtree propelled the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. His epic rant to Erin Andrews only minutes after the play garnered all the attention.
"I felt like I regretted just attacking a man, attacking it and taking away from my teammates," Sherman said. "You never want to talk down on a man to build yourself up and things like that. So I regretted that, and I regretted taking that attention away from my teammates. That's the one thing that I wish I could do again."
Actually, Sherman is more like Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin or Terrell Owens -- huge mouth and even bigger talent.
In the days after the Crabtree incident, Sherman was compared in the media to the "Greatest of all time," Muhammad Ali, a comparison that accomplished the near impossible, humbling Richard Sherman.
"It's very humbling," Sherman said. "It's very humbling to be compared to Muhammad Ali because of all the serious ridicule that he went through, the serious racial degradation and stigmas [and] the stereotypes he had to fight against. He had to really stand his ground and almost go to jail because he wanted to stand up for what he believed in.
"I think his situation was a lot more brave and a lot more serious than my situation is now, and he had to deal with a lot more scrutiny and just headaches and criticism. But it's a blessing because he's one of my biggest idols and a person who I really look up to."
How will Sherman and the Seahawks confidence translate to Sunday in defending Peyton Manning?
"We don't vary or disguise coverage over anybody," Sherman said. "We play a pretty simple defense. For the most part you know what we're going to do every play and you've got to line up and play it. I think that's how we've been all season and it's the last game of the season, there's no time to change it now."
There's no doubt Belichick could handle Sherman, just like he has other stars in the past like Corey Dillon and Randy Moss. But in Sherman, you have much more than a raving lunatic in the secondary who once got under the skin of Tom Brady after a 2012 win over the Patriots. If Deion Sanders and Jerry Rice could win a Super Bowl together while not getting along, why not Brady and Sherman?
You also have a Stanford-educated player who is playing better than anyone at his position and likely will be for the next five years if he stays healthy.
"I definitely think having a communications degree helps you in a sense," Sherman said. "It helps you understand the media side of things and what messages do, how widespread the messages are received, the marketing side of it. Just being an intelligent individual and learning from those professors at Stanford, you have a perspective that is unique.
"It is an asset, but we have five, six guys out there who have a high football IQ. I think Earl Thomas might have one of the highest football IQs I've ever heard of, and he studies the game to a T. He studies it day, night, night and day. In the morning, at night. He's probably studying it right now. You've got Kam Chancellor, who does the same thing, he studies the game to a T. So when you see Kam Chancellor going downhill to make those huge hits and those huge plays, and Earl going to make those, it's because they know the play is coming. They're not guessing out there. It's a real testament to us as a group."
The Kraft family certainly wouldn't mind the promotion of the Richard Sherman brand in New England, a brand Sherman himself acknowledged at Tuesday's media day at the Super Bowl.
"I see the fun in the Super Bowl. I see everybody's attention and how much the NFL has grown as a franchise, as a world brand, and I see that the Super Bowl is a huge event for the world. There are a lot of cameras, a lot of different languages, a lot of countries, a lot of diversity. I love it."
Richard Sherman in Foxboro may be fantasy, but it's one worth dreaming about as you're watching the Seahawks get after Peyton Manning and the Broncos this Sunday in the Super Bowl.