Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Sherman warns critics not to judge his 49ers contract too soon

Mar 13, 2018 at 1:17 PM--

Cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year deal worth up to $39.15 million on Saturday, has received a lot of criticism for representing himself rather than using an agent during the negotiations. When the details of the contract were released, it was revealed that Sherman would have to hit several incentives to earn anywhere close to the full value of the deal.

Sherman will have to play in all 48 regular-season games over the next three years, play in 90-percent of the defensive snaps, and make the Pro Bowl and be named an All-Pro each year to reach the maximum value of the contract.

Among his critics was Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas, who on Monday said he feels bad for Sherman after he got "absolutely crushed on his contract while working as his own agent."

Sherman responded to Thomas by saying it's "actually a case of believing in who I am as a player." The new 49ers cornerback is betting on himself, just as he has done throughout his career after being drafted in the fifth round by Seattle in 2011.

"There was no reason to negotiate with an agent," Sherman said on the "Murph & Mac" show during a Tuesday morning interview on KNBR. "I mean, it wouldn't have helped the situation. I'm still coming off a ruptured Achilles. I've played at a high level, and at the end of the day, if I had been on my second contract up in Seattle, and we get all the way to training camp, and they cut me at the end of the training camp, I don't get a dollar of it – the $11 million that I'm due."

Sherman suffered the injury during a November game against the Arizona Cardinals. He later had minor surgery to clean up bone spurs in the other leg and expects to be back running on the treadmill this week, according to a report by Josina Anderson of ESPN.

"In this situation, I already get $5 million going in," Sherman continued. "I already got more money that I would have gotten in my other deal already. The rest of it, I'm going to have to earn. I believe in myself as a player. I believe in what I can do so I would suggest people to judge this at the end of the deal rather than judging it at the beginning because they judged me as a player at the beginning and you see how that worked out for them."

49ers general manager John Lynch says the team would like to take a more conservative approach to Sherman's return from injury – identifying training camp in late-July as a potential return date. The cornerback wants to return before then – possibly in time for the team's mandatory minicamp in mid-June.

"I'm thinking more June," Sherman said. "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."

What are Sherman's expectations health-wise for the upcoming season?

"I fully expect to be ready for all 16 (games), and I expect to play at a high level," he said. "I've never not played at a high level if I'm playing and I expect that to continue."

You can listen to the entire interview with Sherman below.

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