The San Francisco 49ers will have roughly 30 unrestricted free agents this upcoming offseason. There will be many difficult decisions to make, and cornerback Richard Sherman is at the top of the list. Sherman turns 33 this March and recently returned to the lineup after missing Week’s 2 through 10. History hasn’t been kind to cornerbacks once they turn 30. Look no further than Patrick Peterson this year.
On the field, there’s no arguing Sherman’s production. Off the field, there’s no debating his value. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan discussed whether Sherman’s performance this year, along with his age and injury history, goes into whether the Niners bring him back next year:
“I don’t think it ever is as simple as that. Sherm’s a guy that I know I personally, and I know [general manager] John [Lynch] feels the same; we went on our team at all times. Sherm’s a guy that when he does get older and he does descend, he’s such a good football player, he finds a way. I understand his contract issue this year. I understand there’s a number of guys on our team with that this year, but whoever can help us win football games, our guys are trying to figure out how to bring back, especially guys who do it the right way.
Sherm is as good as anyone in those categories. Now there’s lots of stuff that go into it at the end of the year and how we’re going to balance all this out and wait to figure out what the salary cap is and stuff with what happens, but I know Sherm’s time here, he’s been everything we’ve hoped and more. And I really hope that these next whatever games we have left, I really hope that’s not the end of it.”
Over the next five games, San Francisco faces Stefon Diggs, Terry McLaurin, the Cowboys trio of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup, then DeAndre Hopkins and the Seahawks duo of DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The 49ers know what they have in Sherm, but if there were any questions, they’d be answered during the rest of this season.
Against the Rams, Sherman showed why he remains a superb talent. He knew Jared Goff wasn’t going to throw the ball deep, so you’d see Sherm letting receivers run by him to jump the underneath routes Goff would throw. Sherman was correct each time he did it. Sherm has mastered the mental part of the game, which allows him to play faster than some cornerbacks who run a 4.4 40-yard dash.
Robert Saleh said, “he’s one of the greatest individuals I’ve ever been around, and it’s not just on the field, it’s off the field,” when talking about Sherman. Saleh added that Sherm had been one of the best teammates in the organization as well.
There is so much that goes into this decision of bringing back Sherman, and one of them is his contract value. Let’s set it at $14 million a season. That feels like his market value. If that’s the case, do you extend the future Hall of Famer?