The San Francisco 49ers entered the NFL offseason with numerous question marks surrounding their secondary.
With nine players from the backline of the defense up for free agency, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan acted quickly to lock up some of their key talents.
The Niners re-signed Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley, K’Waun Williams, Jaquiski Tartt, and Dontae Johnson to short-term deals. The 49ers also added to their secondary during the 2021 NFL Draft, selecting Michigan’s Ambry Thomas, Oregon’s Deommodore Lenoir, and USC’s Talanoa Hufanga.
Even with all of those moves, NFL.com’s Jeffri Chadia says the 49ers should make one more move this offseason to solidify their secondary.
So, as of right now, the best fit for Sherman remains the 49ers. He’s spent the last three seasons with that franchise and he can still help its secondary, even at age 33. A lingering calf injury limited Sherman to just five games last season, but he did make the Pro Bowl in 2019. If he can be anywhere close to what he was two years ago, Sherman would give San Francisco’s defense a boost. The team re-signed a couple veterans ( Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley) and drafted a couple young talents (Ambry Thomas, Deommodore Lenoir), but there’s still room for Sherman to be both a crafty playmaker and an invaluable mentor. Sherman would also have another shot at that second Super Bowl ring he’s been chasing. The Niners still have plenty of talent to make that happen and they’ve publicly stated their willingness to bring Sherman back.
Over the Cap has the 49ers with a little more than $17.7 million in cap space, but the team still needs to re-sign its 2021 draft class. Sherman remains on the open market despite being one of the best corners in the game over the previous decade.
Shanahan spoke about Sherman’s situation at his post-draft media availability.
“Sherm is in a good situation,” Shanahan said. “He is a businessman, and he is going to find out the best opportunity for him. I know teams are going to want him, but when you’re in a situation like him at his age, which these guys do when you have the credentials he does, you sit back, and you watch it.
“I know Sherm’s probably going to want to go to a contender just knowing him and how competitive he is. He’ll sit back and be smart and make the right decision for himself. But, when you’ve got a guy that you trust and care about and you also know how competitive he is, we will never rule him out.”
Sherman suffered a calf injury in Week 1 of the 2020 season, which limited him to just five games. His cap hit was $13.9 million in the final year of his three-year deal with San Francisco. Pro Football Focus gave Sherman an overall grade of 67.7 last season, down significantly from the 88.9 grade he received for his performance during the 2019 campaign. Pro Football Focus named Sherman and Williams as the best cornerback duo in the NFL for their efforts in 2019.
The 49ers dealt with numerous injuries to their secondary last season. Corners Verrett, Moseley, and Williams missed 15 games combined in 2020, so adding a veteran at this point makes sense since you can never have enough depth in the NFL. The team already lost safety Tavarius Moore to an Achilles injury this offseason that will keep him out for the next four-to-six months.
All of the injuries resulted in a wasted year in 2020 and two of the veterans from the secondary — Tartt and Williams — said they wanted to run it back one more time with the members of the unit that helped San Francisco had the top-rated pass defense in 2019. There seems to be a bitter taste in the mouths of the players who have been with the team for the past two seasons.
At 33, Sherman has lost a step compared to his peak, but he can still be a valuable part of the defense. Sherman’s football IQ is second-to-none, and his leadership qualities are hard to ignore. Many of the younger players have raved about Sherman’s presence in the locker room over the past three seasons.
Depending on the price, would you be interested in bringing Sherman back for one more year? Or do you think the 49ers should pass on a potential reunion with the former All-Pro?