The Seattle Seahawks' identity is the talented, physical secondary that led the way to the franchise's first Super Bowl title in February. That identity now is preserved through 2018.
Little more than a week after making Earl Thomas the NFL's highest-paid safety, the Seahawks agreed to a lucrative extension with cornerback Richard Sherman on Wednesday.
MOCK DRAFT: Will Manziel join Clowney in top five?
Sherman confirmed he'd signed the deal on his personal website shortly after telling USA TODAY Sports the deal was "pretty close to being done." He says $40 million is guaranteed.
Sherman's four-year, $56 million extension will be added on to the final season of his rookie deal, which will pay him $1.431 million in 2014, a person with knowledge of the contract told USA TODAY Sports.
That person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Seahawks had not release financial terms.
"I guess this is how it feels to be a first-rounder for one time," Sherman said in a media conference at Seahawks headquarters the day before the 2014 draft. He was selected in the fifth round out of Stanford in 2011.
Sherman's average salary of $11.49 million through 2018 surpasses Brandon Carr's $10.02 million for most among cornerbacks on multiyear deals.
"It'd be great (having) a little bit of security," Sherman told USA TODAY Sports before the deal was announced. "Being a fifth-round pick, you never have financial security. Despite what people think, everybody makes a billion dollars as soon as they come in the NFL, it's really not that way.
"It'd be great to keep that off my mind and just be able to focus on playing football and helping my team try to win another Super Bowl."
Darrelle Revis' old deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers averaged $16 million a year, but they cut him after one season. His contract with the New England Patriots is in essence a one-year, $12 million pact.
Thomas' deal tacked four years and $40 million onto the remaining one year at $4.725 million he had on his rookie deal and Sherman's contract, if the terms he reported himself are correct, far surpassed that.
"Money talks," Sherman told USA TODAY Sports. "That's why the best quarterbacks are paid the highest, that's why the best d-linemen are paid the highest, best receivers are paid the highest – because they've worked hard."
Follow Tom Pelissero on Twitter @TomPelissero
VIDEO: Must-see matchups in the 2014 season
USA TODAY Sports' Tom Pelissero picks his top five games of the NFL calendar. USA TODAY Sports