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49ers honor Richard Sherman’s $1 million play-time incentive

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Something John Lynch said he’d do in December

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the San Francisco 49ers gave All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman a $1 million signing bonus to account for the 90% play-time incentive Sherman missed out on last season. General manager John Lynch told Sherman he’d honor the incentive back in December, and he proved to be a man of his word. Sherman played 87% of the snaps for the 49ers defense in 2019. Had Sherm played those 67 snaps against the Falcons in Week 15, he would have reached the incentive because Sherman’s season total would have been 93%. A nice gesture by Lynch and something that won’t go unnoticed in the locker room.

If you remember, Sherman said that he was healthy enough to play in Week 15 after suffering a Grade 2 hamstring strain. It made sense for him to sit out from a long-term point of view. Hamstrings are nothing to mess around with, especially as a cornerback. Sherman’s health for January was far more important than his health in Week 15. Sherman also suffered a knee injury against Baltimore—I believe he only missed one snap—so it was wise for the medical staff to advise him to sit out. This was Sherman after Baltimore’s game:

“I definitely couldn’t go back in this one, unfortunately. If I could give us any kind of chance to go back in, I would have. But unfortunately, in that situation, I would have just been a liability out there with it the way it was. We’ve got a long week ahead of us to try to get it together. Like I always say, don’t count me out until I’m out.”

It was a great season for Sherman, who regained his Hall of Fame form a year removed from an Achilles injury. Sherman was PFF’s highest-graded coverage defender as a cornerback. While he was great in coverage, Sherman was just as good as a run defender, and that made a huge difference for the 49ers defense. Good for you, Richard.