The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a Week 1 win to kick off the 2021 NFL season. However, it wasn’t without drama.
Despite being up 31-10 at halftime, the 49ers struggling defense found a way to turn the game into a close affair. The Detroit Lions — led by new quarterback Jared Goff — stormed all the way back in the second half. The 49ers managed to hold on and win by a score of 41-33. However, it was enough to cause genuine concern about the team’s defense.
The lackluster performance caused enough concern to have the 49ers front office consider bringing back a familiar face.
The San Francisco 49ers are considering re-signing CB Richard Sherman
Sherman spent the last three seasons playing in San Francisco, establishing himself as a focal point to the team’s defense. Between 2018 and 2020, the veteran CB recorded four interceptions, 16 passes defended, and one touchdown. Sherman was viewed as a leader in the 49ers locker room and played a huge role in the team’s Super Bowl run during 2019.
Sherman only played five games last year due to a calf injury and was arrested this past offseason. The NFL hasn’t taken any disciplinary action toward Sherman regarding the arrest. However, it’s due to these two reasons that the 33-year-old corner remains a free agent at the moment.
A knee injury to Jason Verrett puts the pressure on GM John Lynch to address the CB position
One of the main reasons San Francisco struggled to stop Goff and the Lions during Week 1 is due to the overall lack of depth at cornerback. The 49ers were without regular starter Emmanuel Mosley and then lost Jason Verrett to a knee injury halfway through the fourth quarter. It’s feared that Verrett suffered an ACL tear, which would rule him out for the remainder of the 2021 season (ESPN).
The 49ers did bring in veteran corner Josh Norman during the later stages of the offseason, but he’s a shell of his former self. Norman turns 34 years old in December and is coming off a rocky past few seasons in the NFL.
Needless to say, the 49ers are hurting for CB depth.
While Sherman is coming off an up-and-down year filled with on-field health struggles and off-the-field issues, he’s a familiar face who can presumably slide into a starting role for San Fran as soon as Week 2.
‘Sherm’s always a possibility’ – San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan
According to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, he’s recently spoken to Sherman and claims he’s “always a possibility.”
This signals the 49ers are unlikely to aggressively pursue Sherman if they feel he’s a safety valve they can fall back on at any point this season. The 49ers may experiment with a few more young pieces moving forward or even hit up the trade market for external help.
Either way, the 49ers need to figure out their CB depth chart sooner rather than later. They escaped with a Week 1 victory, but the numbers Goff put up should prove as a major wake-up call to a normally aggressive 49ers front office.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.