Richard Sherman gave a detailed description of how the negotiations unfolded with the 49ers, even pointing out that it wasn’t just him and Paraag Marathe in the room. General Manager John Lynch was also a large part of the contract talks. While at the NFL annual meetings Lynch went into great detail about how the process developed, from when he found out Sherman was released to him agreeing to his three year deal.
Lynch began his story with a quick mention of how they were unable to acquire Aqib Talib and then quickly moved on to how they were ready to pounce once Sherman was released. Knowing help in the secondary was a need, they monitored his situation closely. At first they heard he was going to be released, then he wasn’t, and then finally he was. Lynch mentioned that the Seahawks really did Sherman “a solid” by releasing him on Friday before the deadline, otherwise it would have carried over until Monday and they wouldn’t have been able to talk until the weekend was over. Lynch also chuckled and added “fortunately he picked up the phone.”
Here’s the rest of his side of the story:
I just remember things went very well with Kyle. I had known Richard, so the questions that Kyle — there were certain things that Kyle wanted to address with him. I think they got those things taken care of when they had dinner. I remember talking to Kyle right after the dinner saying, “I loved this guy. I think he’d be tremendous for our team, let’s make it happen.”
I was in San Diego, it was my youngest daughter’s birthday. I said alright, time for me to get on a plane. Went up, we sat down with Richard and sat down in my office and the first deal was to kind of just have a discussion to say, “Hey, our wish would be to do this thing today. Let’s get it done. But the other thing is I’ve sat where you’re sitting right now, having been released from my long time team and I know the emotions you’re going through. Hey, you’ve never been a free agent, if you want to do that, I’m just here to tell you that we’ll be here at the end, but my preference would be to do this today.” And he said, “That would be my preference. I love what’s going on, I loved my dinner with Kyle, I love what you guys have going on here, let’s try to figure this thing out.”
So Paraag and I left the room, came up with the first iteration of the deal. We came back and it was Richard and his fiancée sitting on the couch in my office, and Paraag and I. It was a series of, we presented something and then we would try to fine tune and then we would take a break, and he would go out on the balcony. It was interesting because there was a strength and conditioning clinic going on, so there were 300 people down on our field. He’s pretty recognizable. Every time he would go out I’d say, “put your hoodie on!” We didn’t want it getting out and surprisingly it never did.
There were probably four breaks in there where he’d get on the phone. It’s interesting, as I’m here, I keep hearing people who he was on the phone with. [laughing] I didn’t know who he was on the phone with. And then we got close towards the end and I was kind of saying “Come on, let’s get this thing done!” There were a couple times where it almost broke off and he was going to go visit some other places, but fortunately we kept seeing it through and we did. We got it in the end zone. It’s a big deal for us. We were excited.
I think first and foremost, we talked a lot about this because it kind of irked me when I was at that stage, when the first thing they talk about is your influence on other players, I would stop the meeting and say respectfully, “You better think I can still play, because I know how this league works. If you can’t play, they aren’t listening.”
Richard and I had that same conversation. That's the big deal. We still think he’s, when healthy, one of the better corners in this league. That’s what we feel. Now that challenge is getting him healthy. And he’s working diligently, He’s already been in last week, he’s already started that process. We get him healthy and we do feel he has some qualities that will make the rest of that defense better. One of his greatest qualities is the competitor that he is. We believe that’s contagious, we believe our defense needs that. We have a lot of young players that are still finding their way. You need somebody with whatever you call it, that dog or whatever. He is a determined, competitive type of guy and those guys can influence your defense in a great way.