Cornerback Richard Sherman has more or less confirmed what many of us thought when he signed with the San Francisco 49ers this past weekend: it was somewhat an act of revenge against the Seattle Seahawks for releasing him seemingly out of nowhere last week.
Given that the 49ers and Seahawks are both in the NFC West, the two teams will face off two times next season, a fact which prompted Sherman’s statement to The MMQB in which he said that “I’m vengeful in that way.” He continued on to say,
I love the fan base to death, and I loved playing there. It was such a great opportunity. I helped the organization get to a great place and stay there. But now it’s like I abandoned them. People are out there burning my jersey. Come on. I’m not the one who let me go. They let me go. I didn’t abandon anybody.
Sherman’s feelings are entirely valid, considering that he truly didn’t “abandon” the Seahawks: the team pretty much forced him out. It’s a classic example of fans not quite understanding why a player makes certain actions negative to the team for which they root.
The 49ers and Sherman agreed to a three-year contract of which the monetary terms have not been revealed to the public. However, Josina Anderson of ESPN reported that the deal could be worth up to $39.15 million given Sherman accomplishing a set of several incentives given to him within the deal. Sherman even called up the Seahawks front office to see if they would match the offer, but the team allegedly refused.
Sherman expressed a strong sense of satisfaction with the deal, telling The MMQB,
I don’t think any agent in the business could have done a better job of negotiating this contract. As long as I’m content with what I’m making, nothing else matters to me. Once I make a Pro Bowl, $8 million the next year is guaranteed for me. It gives me the ability to control my destiny. The 49ers have skin in the game. I have skin in the game. In my former contract, no matter what I did this year, nothing would be guaranteed to me next year. I couldn’t feel secure in my contract. Now, if I play the way I know I’m capable of playing, I know I’m going to get paid.
Making this all the more interesting is the fact that Sherman more or less acted as his own agent when negotiating the deal with San Francisco’s general manager John Lynch and executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe. Marathe said,
Richard came into the meeting with us having read all the contracts for all the top cornerbacks past and present, studied our contracts and knew who we’d given real guaranteed money to.
Over the course of his career, all of which he has spent with Seattle, Sherman has remained as one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, shutting down opposing receivers and making first-team All-Pro three consecutive seasons. Although he is 30-years-old and coming off a season-ending Achilles injury he suffered last year, we should all expect Sherman to still have a significant impact on a much improved 49ers team.