The San Francisco 49ers’ secondary could look a whole lot different next season. With nine players up for new contracts, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan will have to get creative to fill out the secondary.
One of the players who is up for a new deal is veteran Richard Sherman, who has been with the Niners since the 2018 season. He told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith that he plans on returning to the field next season.
“I only want to play two more. I want to get on a competitive team. I think I still have a lot to give to the game. I think I still have a lot that I want to accomplish and I think I can go out there and help a defense come together like it should and reach their potential, reach the heights that the defenses that I’ve played on have reached.”
Sherman will turn 33 next month. He acted as his own agent and negotiated a three-year deal worth $27 million with San Francisco after being released by Seattle Seahawks following the 2017 season.
His best year with the 49ers came in 2019. Sherman made his fifth Pro Bowl and was named a second-team All-Pro. Pro Football Focus named him as the top coverage defender during the 2019 campaign.
The 2020 season was a lost one for Sherman. He hurt his calf in Week 1 and only suited up and didn’t return until Week 12. Sherman didn’t look like his reliable self when he returned to the lineup. PFF gave him a 67.7 grade over his five games last season, the lowest of his career.
Sherman has already said it will take a miracle for him to return to the Niners, given the team’s tight salary cap situation. It looks like the NFL will set the 2021 cap around $180 million, and with the 49ers having limited space, it seems Sherman will be elsewhere next season.
San Francisco should be able to re-sign Jason Verrett, who had an excellent bounce-back season in 2020. The team should also be able to re-sign Emmanuel Moseley and K’Waun Williams.
The 49ers could also select a corner with the No. 12 selection at this year’s draft, with Patrick Surtain, Jaycee Horn and Caleb Farley expected to be on the board.
What do you think of Sherman’s tenure with the Niners? If the price is right, would you want him to be back with the team next season?