Richard Sherman is set to hit the free-agent market this offseason leaving the San Francisco 49ers with one of several difficult decisions. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan emphasized that the team would like to have Sherman back despite his recent injury.
“I don’t think it ever is as simple as that,” Shanahan explained, via 49ersWebZone.com. “Sherm’s a guy that I know I personally, and I know [general manager] John [Lynch] feels the same, we went on our team at all times. Sherm’s a guy that when he does get older and he does descend, he’s such a good football player, he finds a way. I understand his contract issue this year. I understand there’s a number of guys on our team with that this year, but whoever can help us win football games our guys are trying to figure out how to bring back, especially guys who do it the right way.”
Sherman has an $8 million salary this season as part of his three-year, $27.1 million contract, per Spotrac. Aside from this season, Sherman has maintained relatively good health with the 49ers playing in 15 and 14 games respectively the last two seasons. Heading into Week 13, Sherman has only played in two games this season but appears to be recovered from a leg injury that sidelined him for the first half of 2020.
Shanahan on Sherman: ‘He’s Been Everything We’ve Hoped and More’
Shanahan was extremely complimentary of Sherman but admitted the team has to work within the salary cap restraints. The 49ers coach noted that Sherman has been “everything we’ve hoped for and more.”
“Sherm is as good as anyone in those categories,” Sherman added. “Now there’s lots of stuff that go into it at the end of the year and how we’re going to balance all this out and wait to figure out what the salary cap is and stuff with what happens, but I know Sherm’s time here, he’s been everything we’ve hoped and more. And I really hope that these next whatever games we have left, I really hope that’s not the end of it.”
Sherman Is Joined by Trent Williams as the Top 49ers Free Agents for 2021
49ers general manager John Lynch has been open about the team’s tight cap situation heading into 2021. According to Over the Cap, the 49ers are projected to have $23.2 million in cap space but this only accounts for 34 players on the roster.
San Francisco has been vocal about their desire to retain left tackle Trent Williams along with Sherman. The Niners could gain additional cap flexibility by moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, but so far have at least publicly indicated they still have confidence in their QB1. Garoppolo is set to have a $26.9 million cap hit next season but the majority of this money could be saved if the 49ers traded or released the quarterback.
The 49ers made moves like trading Kwon Alexander in an effort to save future cap room. The question the Niners will have to answer in free agency is whether Sherman’s injury this season was unfortunate luck or the sign of a veteran potentially heading towards the end of his career. What is less debatable is Sherman’s impact on the field continues to be at a high level.