Richard Sherman is his own agent; here's the reported deal he negotiated with 49ers
Richard Sherman the player and Richard Sherman the agent both had a big day on Saturday
Of course, when we say that "Sherman and his agent were impressed," we actually mean just Sherman and that's because the former Seahawks cornerback serves as his own agent. That means it was Sherman, and Sherman alone, who negotiated the reported three-year deal with the 49ers on Saturday.
So what kind of deal did Sherman the agent hammer out for Sherman the player?
Well, let's just say that Sherman is definitely going to have to earn his money and that's because his three-year contract is an incentive-laden deal that could be worth up to $39 million, but might not be worth much if he doesn't meet those incentives.
Here are the all the details of the contract, via Pro Football Talk.
Sherman will be getting a $3 million signing bonus, a $2 million roster bonus if he passes a physical by the first day of training camp and a $2 million base salary for 2018, but he's basically going to have to earn everything else after that. Sherman will be making $125,000 per week in 46-man roster bonuses, which means, if Sherman is on the active roster for all 16 games in 2018, he'll get a total of $2 million.
That active roster bonus is likely due to the fact that the 49ers have no way of knowing if he'll be ready for the 2018 season. Sherman missed seven games in 2017 after tearing his right Achilles tendon and also had to have surgery on his left leg this offseason to clean out bone spurs.
The recovery timeline for an injury like that is generally 10 to 12 months, which means Sherman might not be ready for the beginning of the 2018 season. However, ESPN.com noted on Saturday that Sherman and the 49ers both expect him to be ready for training camp, which would be a highly impressive recovery timeline. Basically, in the first year alone, Sherman has $4 million tied to his health in the form of his game day roster bonuses ($2 million) and his bonus for passing a physical on the first day of training camp ($2 million).
Sherman also a $1 million playing-time incentive tied into his contract. If he's on the field for at least 90 percent of the 49ers defensive plays in 2018, then he'll earn the bonus.
Sherman can also make another $3 million if he earns any postseason accolades. If Sherman gets voted to the Pro Bowl in 2018, he'll get an extra $1 million. If he's named an All-Pro, which is slightly more difficult then getting voted to the Pro Bowl, then Sherman will earn another $2 million.
If you're scoring at home, that means Sherman could make as much as $13 million during the first year of his deal ($3 million signing bonus, $2 million base salary, $2 million bonus for passing his physical at training camp, $2 million active roster bonus, $1 million playing time bonus and $3 million Pro Bowl/All-Pro bonus).
That last bonus is the one you want to keep an eye on, because if Sherman hits that it will basically tie him to the 49ers until 2020. According to NFL.com, if Sherman is voted to the Pro Bowl in 2018, a total of $16 million in base salary for 2019 and 2020 seasons will become fully guaranteed. Sherman would get $8 million in base salary for each season, with one catch: The money doesn't become fully guaranteed until the third day of the league year in March 2019.
For all intents and purposes, this means the 49ers could get out of the contract after just one season without taking a substantial cap hit. If Sherman doesn't go to the Pro Bowl in 2018, then his base salary for 2019 and 2020 will be a non-guaranteed $7 million in each season. Of course, even if that happens, Sherman will still be able to earn more money. In both seasons, he'll still have the opportunity to earn his $1 million playing time bonus, his $1 million for Pro Bowl, and his $2 million for All-Pro bonus.
Basically, Sherman is going to have to have a huge year if he wants to get the full value of his contract, and that's not going to be easy, considering Week 1 of the 2018 season is being played less than 10 months after his Achilles injury.
On the other hand, there's really no downside here for the 49ers. The team basically only has to pay him if he produces in 2018 and if he does that, they'll have no problem writing him a huge check every week.
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