The San Francisco 49ers came into the offseason with several question marks surrounding their secondary. The team had nine players up for new contracts, but general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan acted quickly.
The 49ers re-signed Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley, K’Waun Williams and Jaquiski Tartt to short-term deals. All four players are expected to be starters next season. One player the Niners didn’t come to terms with is former All-Pro Richard Sherman.
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 efforts during the 2019 campaign.
The 33-year-old remains unsigned and could wind up with one of the 49ers’ biggest rivals. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that Sherman is open to a reunion with the Seattle Seahawks, the team he spent the first seven years of his career with.
“I’m told that this is not off the table, that Sherman is still open to returning to the Legion of Boom or what remains of it,” Fowler said, via 247Sports. “He makes a home on the West Coast still, still has a home in Seattle. Most people think he’d like to still play on the West Coast. And so, Seattle needs some cornerback help. Nothing’s working right now, but maybe closer to training camp something can shake out. Seattle needs to figure out the (Jamal) Adams money allocation before they take resources elsewhere. ‘Cause a guy like Sherman, he’s not going to take the minimum. This is a high-caliber player that would need a decent contract.”
The Seahawks have a desperate need at corner with former Niner Ahkello Witherspoon and D.J. Reed at the top of the depth chart. Sherman was named an All-Pro four times while with the Seahawks and definitely wasn’t popular among 49ers fans during his time in Seattle.
If he signs with the Seahawks, the vitriol towards Sherman from The Faithful likely won’t be as bad as it was since he spent three seasons with the 49ers and helped the team reach the Super Bowl in 2019.
Sherman hasn’t found the right situation despite being available for more than three months. The economic fallout of the pandemic slowed the market down, given that the salary cap is set at $182.5 million.
Shanahan and Lynch said they were open to bringing back Sherman earlier in the offseason.
“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.
“You find the best opportunity for yourself. I know Sherm is probably going to want to go to a contender, just knowing him and how competitive he is. He will sit back and be smart and make the best decision for himself, but when you got a guy you trust and you know how competitive he is, no, we would never rule him out.”
Sherman has repeatedly said he only wants to play for a contender. The 49ers should be among the upper-echelon teams in the NFL next season, while the Seahawks have made the playoffs eight out of the last nine seasons with quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Pete Carroll leading the charge.
Sherman has slowed down a step as he goes into the twilight of his career, but he certainly made an impact in the 49ers’ locker room. Players and coaches raved about his leadership abilities.
Where do you think Sherman will end up?