NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco met with San Francisco 49ers star cornerback Richard Sherman on Saturday, and the topic of Sherman’s future with the franchise came up. The veteran cornerback’s contract expires at the end of the season, and based on what Sherman told Maiocco; it doesn’t appear that Sherm will be in the Bay Area after this year:
“We’ve had brief conversations. I think that there’s obviously a want from both sides to come back and make this work. Unfortunately, I don’t know that the circumstances will allow it.
That’s the sad, sad truth. It’s one of those years where it’s not anybody’s fault that it may not work out. And it will be a sad parting because I’ve really enjoyed my time here. I’ve enjoyed this team. I have brothers on this team, and I think we still have work to do. But I don’t know that the circumstances will allow it.
There are a ton of guys that need to be paid and are coming up. Fred Warner is coming up. There are, like, 40 free agents who need to be re-signed. At the end of the day, they have to do what’s best for the majority, for the team. And I got to understand that. And so the numbers are adding up to that I won’t be here, unless something miraculous happens, which would be really cool.”
That reads like a player who is self-aware. By all accounts, the 49ers front office and coaching staff are as straight-forward as it gets, and the players appreciate that. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the two sides discussed Sherman’s contract before the season, specifically related to how much injuries have and would affect Sherman’s future deal.
As Sherman states, even as he continues to play at a high level, San Francisco has 40 unrestricted free agents this upcoming offseason. Any other year, it’d be easy to talk yourself into giving a Hall of Fame cornerback $14 million a year as he turns 33. If the 49ers were to do that, it’d mean the team would have to pinch pennies to fill out a secondary that would have Sherman, Jimmie Ward, and all unrestricted free agents.
There are going to be new starters in the secondary next season. What the Niners must determine is how many new starters they want. Paying Sherman, even with his immense value on and off the field, doesn’t make sense financially when you consider how many players need to be paid. I’d sign Williams to a value deal, offer Verrett a contract that’s front-loaded with guarantees, and invest in a cornerback early in the NFL Draft.
It’ll be fascinating to see Sherman’s market, where he ends up, or if he decides to hang the cleats up. The perfect ending would be going out on top. The 49ers can keep that and their playoff dream alive with a big win over Buffalo Monday night.