San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman told my pal, Dave Lombardi of The Athletic, that the Detriot Lions offered him a contract that would give Sherman $10 million guaranteed for the first two years. That’s a deal that would have easily bettered the 49ers offer, which totaled a $9 million base salary in the first two seasons. Seven million was guaranteed. Sherman would have needed to hit numerous incentives to reach the full potential of his contract. That happened. But why did Sherm choose San Francisco over Detroit? Culture. Here is what he told Lombardi:
“I have fun. I like music at practice. I like to hang out and be relaxed in meetings. I don’t like the stressful environment in football. (The Lions) condition every day after practice. My body isn’t built to run all day and night. I’ll be prepared, but I don’t have to be run into the ground.”
That’s a smart business move on Sherman’s part. The 49ers are known for fun. Emmanuel Sanders noticed Kyle Shanahan’s Yeezy’s. Everyone is dancing during stretching. Nobody is running after practice. More on Sherman’s thought process:
“Hey, I can get this $20 million guaranteed and be in Detroit and lose football games,” he told Lombardi. “Or I can go to a place where I’m very comfortable with the scheme, coach and culture and I’m very comfortable with the things they do and I really believe we can win.”
Scheme and familiarity played a key role in Sherman deciding to sign with the 49ers. Most players are fine with getting a big check and losing. We see it in free agency every season. Look back to last year. How is that Le’Veon Bell, $35 million guaranteed contract looking with the Jets? Or C.J. Mosley getting $51 million from New York? We don’t have to pick on the Jets only. Trey Flowers signed a $56 million in Detroit. Landon Collins did the same in Washington. He got $44.5 million guaranteed. The deals are endless.
Sherman chose to win.