Since joining the San Francisco 49ers, star cornerback Richard Sherman has become a key piece in the puzzle for the franchise. Sherman has been crucial in reshaping the defense that has been the guiding force to the team’s push back to the Super Bowl facing the Kansas City Chiefs. It was a decision to join the 49ers that Sherman made after tearing his Achilles tendon. Sherman has opened up to the reasoning behind his choice to join his longtime division rival.
Richard Sherman’s decision to sign with the 49ers
Following spending his first eight years in the league with the Seattle Seahawks, Sherman found himself on the free-agent market for the first time in his career.
He became a salary-cap casualty after the Seahawks elected to part ways with him after he suffered a torn Achilles tendon in November of the 2017 season prematurely ended his campaign. It was a quick process that saw Sherman quickly decide to latch onto the 49ers as the two sides had mutual interest.
The process was unique in that he didn’t have an agent representing him in his contract discussions as he took a chance on himself with an incentive-laden deal that was a three-year contract. The decision also kept him in the NFC West with the ability to face his former team twice a season, but there was another reason why he chose to sign with San Francisco.
Why Richard Sherman joined the 49ers
Sherman’s career altered course after his Achilles injury, but it also opened up the chance to get a fresh start with another franchise.
Although the 49ers were coming off some struggling seasons, Sherman quickly bought into what head coach Kyle Shanahan put forth with the culture around the team, according to David Lombardi of the Athletic.
“That’s what I appreciate about Kyle,” Sherman said. “His culture and the way he did things was very similar to how we did things in Seattle and what I was accustomed to. 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.
“Because I don’t think there’s anybody that can stop Kyle when he has the personnel that he has picked and put into spots, and I don’t think there’s anyone that can beat [defensive coordinator Robert] Saleh when he has the personnel that he has picked and put into spots.”
Sherman has become a huge piece of the puzzle for their defense that has become arguably the best unit in the league. That has especially been the case in the 2019 campaign where he’s back on the map as one of the top players at his position.
Richard Sherman’s 2019 season
There were plenty of critics that believed that Sherman took a huge risk by signing an incentive-laden deal with the 49ers.
That talk had much reasoning as he was coming off a torn Achilles, which can be a career-altering injury. However, Sherman has worked his way back into elite form this season in his second year after the ailment as he earned his fifth Pro Bowl selection and second selection to the Second-Team All-Pro. He recorded 61 total tackles, 11 pass deflections, three interceptions with one returned for a touchdown.
The 31-year-old has been an anchor in their secondary and one of the leaders of the team. His play has been crucial in providing some stout play that has lifted the 49ers to hold potentially the best defense in the league.
Sherman is now in the position to potentially add a second Super Bowl win to his resume in the third career trip to that stage. Although he’s in the final year of his deal with 49ers, it should be expected to be back for the long haul to be apart of the team’s bright future ahead.