Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Grateful Richard Sherman calls his time with 49ers ‘very positive’

Feb 17, 2021 at 9:31 AM--

It's very clear that San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman expects to be with another team in 2021. He'll hit free agency in a month, and the three-time first-team All-Pro will begin his hunt for one last contract before calling it a career.

"I only want to play two more (seasons)," Sherman told ESPN's Stephen A. Smith last week. "I want to get on a competitive team. I think I still have a lot to give to the game. I think I still have a lot that I want to accomplish, and I think I can go out there and help a defense come together like it should, and reach their potential, reach the heights that the defenses that I've played on have reached."

After that, Sherman will likely transition to a job with the media. His long term goal remains becoming an NFL executive — possibly a general manager. It would allow him to make roster decisions and help build a championship-caliber team.

"I don't know if I want to do coaching," Sherman said in 2019. "I want to put a team together and manage it."

For now, the task will be identifying a new team to complete his legacy as a player. Sherman spent the last three seasons with the 49ers after seven with the Seattle Seahawks. Salary-cap constraints will likely end his time in the Bay Area.

"Like I said when I had the conversation, I mean, if there's some miracle that happens, sure, there's an opening (for a return)," Sherman told reporters in December. "But there's 40 free agents, and they'll probably have $30 million or less in cap (space). They've got to bring back Trent (Williams), who costs over $20 million. They have to pay Fred (Warner), who costs $18 million-plus a year. And anybody who knows the situation understands that."

Sherman and the 49ers have had conversations about the future. The cornerback has repeatedly said those talks have been good and he has nothing but respect for the organization that brought him in three years ago.

How would Sherman describe his time with the 49ers, a one-time division-rival?

"Very positive," Sherman recently told Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee. "It was an incredible chapter in my career and I got to meet and play with some incredible human beings," Sherman told The Bee. "I met some phenomenal coaches, and obviously the relationships that were forged will be lifetime connection, and my relationship with 'The Faithful' has obviously evolved during that time, which has been a pretty cool arc in the story. And I'm grateful for it."

The Las Vegas Raiders are a likely candidate to pursue Sherman. Head coach Jon Gruden pitched his team to Sherman during a recent podcast interview. There will be other suitors, too, so the defender will have options.

Sherman might not be the only 49ers defensive back headed out the door. Safety Jaquiski Tartt and cornerbacks K'Waun Williams, Jason Verrett, and Ahkello Witherspoon are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents while Emmanuel Moseley is an impending exclusive-rights free agent.

Remember, Sherman is an aspiring general manager and offered some insight into the 49ers' offseason predicament.

"It's good and bad because they have a ton of talent still there with Emmanuel and obviously Jimmie (Ward) and Tarvarius (Moore) and Marcell (Harris)," Sherman told Biderman. "Those players aren't easily replaced, so I will assume Verrett will be heavily factored into those plans, rightfully so, he's earned himself a huge payday.

"He played well all last season, he played well down the stretch, and I think that's what's going to make it difficult is the guys that have to retain are going to be expensive. I don't envy them. It's a tough spot to be in because those aren't the only places of need."

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