The San Francisco 49ers may be bringing back one of the best defensive backs to ever play in the NFL.
Chris Biderman, of the Sacramento Bee, reported Thursday, May 6, that the 49ers are in preliminary talks with cornerback Richard Sherman about returning to the team for the 2021 season.
The 33-year-old cornerback has spent the previous three seasons with the 49ers after coming over from NFC West Division rival the Seattle Seahawks.
“A signing is not imminent, but discussions could accelerate in the coming weeks,” according to Biderman’s report.
The 49ers Are Well-Staffed at the Cornerback Position
San Francisco has spent the offseason bolstering its defensive backfield, but there may still be a place for Sherman.
The 49ers resigned cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Emmanuel Moseley. Verrett was brought back for one year and $5.5 million. Moseley, a restricted free agent, agreed to a two-year contract worth approximately $9.4 million.
The team also picked up two cornerbacks via the NFL Draft. Michigan’s Ambry Thomas came to the 49ers via the third round, and the team picked up Deommodore Lenoir in the fifth round via the University of Oregon.
Sherman Has Changed His Tune About Returning to The 49ers Since The End of Last Season
Sherman initially told 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch that it was unlikely he would return to the team for the 2021 season.
“It’s been made pretty clear (I won’t be back),” Sherman told the Sacramento Bee last February. “It was a good conversation, nothing crazy. Just a good conversation about where they are and where I am, and their plans. We were both very positive and as good as you can be in a situation like this.”
Shanahan responded to the comments, also in an interview with Biderman and the Sacramento Bee.
“We love Sherm. He’s a friend. I’ve got as much respect for him as anyone I’ve ever coached,” Shanahan said. “Sherm’s in a good situation to where, Sherm’s a businessman. He’s going to find out the best opportunity for him. I know teams are going to want him. But when you’re in a situation like him at his age, which these guys do, and you have the credentials like he does, you sit back and you watch and you find the best opportunity for yourself.”
The 49ers may prove the best option for Sherman, as he has reportedly been in talks with both San Francisco and his former team, the Seattle Seahawks.
Sherman was saddled with injury issues in 2020, missing 11 games with a lower calf injury. However, he was named as a Second-Team All-Pro in 2019 when he was part of a 49ers defensive backfield that made it all the way to the Super Bowl.
While an injured Sherman’s role would be unclear if he resigned with the 49ers, he would certainly add depth and skill to a defense that looks to return to its previous form after being riddled with injuries in 2020.