The San Francisco 49ers signed former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman to a three-year, $39.15 million deal on March 10, which was just a day after Seattle released the three-time All-Pro. During a press conference on Thursday afternoon, 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan discussed the addition of the seven-year veteran.

"He's a special player," Lynch said. "He's one of those guys you don't really like if he's on the other side. I think you love him if he's on your side. I've watched him way back to Stanford when he transitioned from a wide receiver over to defensive back, then watched him develop throughout his pro career. One of the unique competitors, I think one of the better competitors I've ever seen in the way he brings the best out of his teammates. He brings a lot to the table from that perspective.

"He's also been highly, highly productive in terms of taking the ball away, in terms of being kind of a prototype for what you're looking for in this system. I think we weighed all of that."

Before having dinner with him last week, Shanahan had never met Sherman. All he knew of him was how good of a player he is on the football field.

"I've played against him a ton," Shanahan said. "I think everyone knows how good of a player he is. I know that from just going against him."

Sherman is recovering a ruptured Achilles tendon which he suffered during a November game against the Arizona Cardinals. He also had minor surgery to clean up bone spurs in the other leg. While Lynch hopes to have him ready for training camp in late-July, Sherman is more aggressively targeting a June return date.

"I'm thinking more June," Sherman said during a KNBR interview on Tuesday. "I was really close – before I had to get this bone spur removal – to running 100 percent of my body weight on the treadmill. I was at 90 percent with the Achilles. I was on my way to getting to the treadmill and progressing from the treadmill to the field, etc. I slowed down once I got the bone spur removed. So I've just got to wait for this bone to do what it's got to do and then progress."

Sherman's deal with the 49ers was incentive-rich, which means the cornerback is betting on himself. He'll need to play in 90 percent of the team's defensive stats while making the Pro Bowl and being named an All-Pro in each of the next three years to reach the maximum value of the contract.

For the 49ers, if Sherman achieves those goals, it will mean he is playing at a high level and earning every penny of his contract.

Lynch said he expects Sherman to make a full recovery and start 16 games for the 49ers in 2018.

"There's some risk involved with it," Lynch continued, "but we worked a deal that allowed us some protection and allowed him the upside that if he returns to the Richard Sherman everyone knows, he's going to be very happy. I think it worked out great. We're thrilled to have him."

Shanahan said he realized over that dinner with Sherman and his fiancée just how much the cornerback believes in himself.

"I believe in people who believe in themselves," Shanahan said. "That is very true with that guy."

Sherman's confidence, which Shanahan warned shouldn't be seen as cockiness, is what made the prospect of adding the veteran so appealing — despite the apparent risks.

"He's as competitive of a guy that I've been around," Shanahan said. "If you're going to bet on someone to come back from something like that, I'm going to bet on a guy like that. I think he's shown you by his actions that there's not a doubt in his mind that he's going to do that, and we're going to do everything we can to support him to get there."

Shanahan was asked if there is a "Plan B" should Sherman not be able to contribute as much as hoped in 2018.

"I believe in Sherman. I'm confident he'll come back," he responded. "But if not, we'll have another guy step up. We'll play as a team to get it done, just like we did last year."