Richard Sherman represents himself and negotiated his own three-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers. Niners fans have reason to listen up, then, when the former Pro Bowl cornerback addresses his standing with the team. Sherman did just that this week, as ESPN reported, and he made it clear: Barring a "miracle," the 2020 season will be his last with the 49ers.
The Niners are projected to be under the reduced 2021 salary cap, but with several dozen players set to hit free agency and another handful due for big-money extensions, Sherman doesn't see a clear path to a new deal.
"If there's some miracle that happens, then sure, there's an opening," the veteran corner said, per Nick Wagoner. "But there's 40 free agents and they'll probably have $30 million or less in cap, and they have got to bring back Trent (Williams), who costs over $20 million. They have to pay Fred (Warner), who costs $18 million-plus a year. So anybody who knows the situation understands that."
The 49ers have endorsed bringing back Sherman, who signed his original three-year, $27.15 million deal in 2017, with coach Kyle Shanahan saying "Sherm's a guy that I knew personally, and I know (general manager) John (Lynch) feels the same, we want on our team at all times." That said, San Francisco's other offseason decisions figure to go a long way in determining whether there's room for Sherman, who turns 33 in March and has missed all but three games due to injury in 2020.
Williams is arguably the most likely to command a new deal after joining the Niners as a blockbuster trade addition this offseason. Warner, meanwhile, has emerged as one of the team's top defensive play-makers since 2019, though it should be noted that an $18 million average annual salary -- the total Sherman projects for his teammate -- would make the 24-year-old linebacker the highest-paid player at his position alongside the Seattle Seahawks' Bobby Wagner.