Richard Sherman’s decision to sign with the San Francisco 49ers was always a fascinating one to behold. At one point, Sherman was the face of Seattle’s defense that gave the 49ers fits. On top of that, his brash attitude made him public enemy number one in San Francisco.
Despite being a hobbled veteran at the time of his signing, however, Sherman has been key to the San Francisco defense. It turns out, however, that the 49ers were not the only team that wanted him.
Richard Sherman’s career
Sherman’s first seven years in the NFL were played with the Seahawks. Coming out of Stanford, Sherman was a fifth-round pick who wasn’t expected to be one of the faces of his 2011 draft class. It took him no time, however, to show people that he was more than a fifth-round pick, but a defensive superstar in the making.
Sherman made his way into the Seahawks starting lineup as a rookie and never looked back. His knack for getting interceptions at just the right time combined with his charismatic personality made him a favorite of the Seattle fan base. By 2012, just his second year in the NFL, he was already an All-Pro player.
With Sherman and the legion of boom on defense and young quarterback Russell Wilson leading Marshawn Lynch and the rest of the Seahawks offense, the team was destined for greatness. Sherman, specifically, began to get a reputation for his trash talk on top of his talent. After defeating the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs, a post-game rant went viral and a legend was born.
After a 2017 injury to his Achilles, however, the Seahawks cut Sherman. He then shocked the world and signed with the 49ers. A good, albeit forgettable year one in San Francisco had many thinking that he was done.
Then, in 2019, Sherman and rookie Nick Bosa showed the world that their defense could not be stopped. Although they lost in the Super Bowl, it was a comeback year for Sherman, who made his first Pro Bowl since 2016.
Why Richard Sherman signed with San Francisco
Sherman was once hated by 49ers fans thanks to his 2014 rant. After leading the team back to the Super Bowl, however, he is in their good graces.
Their former hatred didn’t stop Sherman from taking a gamble on himself, however. Sherman took a potential pay cut to play for the team and win. The Detroit Lions reportedly offered him $20 million guaranteed. That was way higher than what the 49ers offered.
This didn’t sway Sherman, however. He saw it as an opportunity to prove that he had more to give. On top of that, he liked the direction where the 49ers were heading. With where the Lions are today, he appears to have made the right choice.
″[Shanahan’s] culture and the way he did things was very similar to how we did things in Seattle, and what I was accustomed to,” Sherman said (per The Athletic).
“That made a huge difference. Hey, I can get this $20 million guaranteed and be in Detroit and lose football games. Or I can go to a place where I’m very comfortable with the scheme, coach and culture, and I’m very comfortable with the things they do and I really believe we can win.”
Doing things his way
It should come to no surprise that Sherman decided to do something most might not consider. He has always been one to march to the beat of his drum.
While most players across the league depend on agents to get deals done, Sherman represented himself in negotiations. He wrote about this decision for The Players’ Tribune.
“One of the main reasons I had decided to represent myself in negotiations was because I knew it would be a big challenge, and I never shy away from a challenge,” he wrote (per The Players’ Tribune).
“But also, I wanted to be represented by somebody who was going to look out for my best interest and nothing else. So I thought, ‘Who better than me?'”
Whatever the thoughts on Sherman and his contract back then, it has worked out. Not only is he helping bolster the 49ers’ defense on the field, but off of it, he has become a locker room leader.
Nobody is saying that Sherman is the superstar that he once was, but he isn’t finished. Now in his early thirties, he is a league veteran. Rather than run from age, he is accepting this role and helping the 49ers return to great success.