Less than 24 hours after the Seahawks released Richard Sherman, the iconic cornerback agreed to a three-year, $39 million contract with NFC West rival San Francisco, according to multiple reports, including this one from NFL.com. The NFL Network reported that Sherman’s signing bonus will be approximately $5 million.
Sherman’s $13 million per year average with the 49ers exceeds by $2 million what he was scheduled to receive this season in the final year of his contract with Seattle. According to ESPN, the Seahawks asked Sherman to take a pay cut in order to re-sign with Seattle, and he said no.
The only part of the deal guaranteed is the signing bonus, according to the NFL Network. He gets a $2 million base salary, $2 million in 46-man roster bonuses, a $1 million playing time incentive and a $3 million Pro Bowl incentive in 2018.
Sherman earned four Pro Bowl invitations during his seven-year tenure (2011-17) with the Seahawks and made three Associated Press first-team All-Pro teams. Sherman played in more than 100 games, including 99 consecutive starts before he tore his right Achilles tendon in November against the Arizona Cardinals.
The subsequent surgery typically has a 10- to 12-month rehab before a full return. Sherman last month underwent another surgery, this one on his left ankle to remove bone spurs.
Sherman had 32 interceptions, most in the NFL since Seattle drafted him in the fifth round out of Stanford. He also ranked No. 1 in passes defensed and opponent quarterback rating. Now, as a member of a division rival, he will face the Seahawks twice per year.
Before releasing Sherman Friday, the Seahawks informed him that they were open to bringing him back at a lower salary. Sherman said no. He then had dinner with San Francisco head coach Mike Shanahan in San Francisco Saturday night and also let it be known that he would interview with the Detroit Lions next week.
The Detroit interview smacked of being bogus from the outset as Sherman was apparently set on joining the 49ers all along. Sherman is a native of Compton, CA., and attended Stanford University with former Seattle teammate Doug Baldwin.
Sherman, acting as his own agent, said at the Seattle Sports Star of the Year program last month that he hoped to sign a long-term deal with the Seahawks, adding that he understood that might not happen.
It didn’t. Sherman joins the team against whom in early 2014 he made the signature play of his NFL career, a tipped Colin Kaepernick pass in the end zone intended for Michael Crabtree that was intercepted by Malcolm Smith, sending the Seahawks to the Super Bowl.
Sherman is familiar with Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, who was Seattle’s defensive quality control coach from 2011-2013.
With $66 million in cap space, the 49ers had no trouble fitting Sherman into their budget. The Seahawks, who began the week with less than $13 million in cap space, did not have that luxury.