Controversy does indeed create cash.
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is set to make more from his 15-second rant heard loudly around the world than he has made in salary during his three years in the NFL.
Sherman makes about $550,000 a year in salary, and according to Sherman’s agent Jamie Fritz, the cornerback’s current endorsements “amount to just a bit more than his $550,000 NFL salary.”
But after interest in Sherman “boomed” after he smacked down 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree on Sunday, Sherman is on pace to make around $5 million in endorsements this offseason. Fritz told CNN that millions in deals will be signed soon, with some before the Super Bowl is played on February 2.
Fritz said the rant has been more positive than negative for Sherman’s image.
“I think that he’s more likable,” he said, with obvious bias in favor of his client. “People love this. The brand managers love this.”
Jordan Schlachter, the executive vice president for The Marketing Arm, a firm that arranges endorsement deals, agreed, telling CNN that Sherman is “going to be the very hot interview in next couple of weeks” and companies will want him to endorse their products. Other executives said that it is difficult for defensive backs–even those who are as stellar on the field as Sherman–to get the endorsements that quarterbacks do and the “rant has elevated Sherman in advertisers’ eyes.” Others noted that though there are companies that will not want to take a chance on Sherman after the rant, most of them do not employ athletes as endorsers in the first place.
Currently, Sherman is in two national ads. He is featured in one for Beats by Dre headphones and has a cameo in a Kobe Bryant Nike ad. He also has some minor ads that run regionally in Seattle.
There was plenty of buzz after Sherman’s “Orchestra Pit” moment.
His column that he penned the morning after the rant shattered traffic records for Sports Illustrated–it the most viewed article in the website’s history. Reaction to Sherman on Twitter immediately after the rant was split down the middle, but those who tweeted directly at him were twice as likely to express positive sentiments than negative, according to an Emory University study. Conservative icon Rush Limbaugh, who has never been shy about speaking his mind with relish, even said that he believed people would like Sherman when they got to know more about his background and how he survived the tough streets of Compton, graduated from Stanford, and does not have any off-field incidents.
Sherman will get a significant pay increase as well this offseason. Because he has played three years in the NFL, Sherman’s contract can be renegotiated this offseason, and he will make at least $10 million a season as the league’s best shutdown cornerback. Sherman incredibly led the NFL in interceptions even though he was thrown to the fewest number of times because quarterbacks were afraid of being picked off.