By Nick Shook
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Richard Sherman‘s free-agent tour included just one stop, and was completed with zero agents.
The corner represented himself in contract talks with the San Francisco 49ers, signing a three-year, $39 million deal that has since been torn to shreds by many people who were not inside the negotiations. Sherman has been criticized for taking a deal with too little money guaranteed, unlikely incentive benchmarks and an easy exit for the 49ers if the veteran doesn’t fulfill performance expectations.
He’s also been painted as a stubborn, headstrong player who cared more about a chance to face his old team twice a season than about a fair contract. Tuesday offered Sherman a microphone (with a 49ers backdrop) to defend himself.
“Well, the biggest misconception is that it’s a bad deal,” Sherman told reporters in Santa Clara, California. “If you’re comparing it to my last deal in Seattle, I had no money guaranteed, so if I’m basing it off just going off my last year in Seattle, and you compare it to it, I got no money guaranteed. I’m going into Seattle coming off a ruptured Achilles what security do I have there?
“With this deal, I get $5 million guaranteed, which is half my other contract. I get the ability to make more than I could’ve done whether I played at an All-Pro level or not in Seattle. And that’s really all that I wanted. If I play at the level I’m capable of, I feel security in the upcoming years and I feel comfortable with that. And I’m great with that.”
Sherman’s ability depends on his health. The cornerback is still on the road back from surgery to repair a torn Achilles suffered in 2017, and had minor surgery recently to address a nagging issue in his other Achilles. It resulted in a minor setback, but Sherman is still confident he’ll be back in plenty of time to play (guaranteeing as much in a revelatory Players’ Tribune article), telling NFL Network’s Steve Wyche he’s two months ahead of schedule and his doctor is “blown away by my progress.”
We’ll have to wait to see how it holds up when actual football activities begin. In the meantime, the reliably outspoken Sherman didn’t waste an opportunity to stoke the lasting embers of what was a fierce NFC West rivalry a half-decade ago.
“The Seahawks made their business decision and made the decision that they needed to make and the San Francisco 49ers made the decision that they needed to make,” Sherman said. “And I look forward to helping them win ball games.
“At the end of the day, the rivalry is what it is. It’ll be renewed, I’m sure. And I’ll be at the center of it again, I guess. But at the end of the day, I’m just coming here to help this team win ball games.”