The San Francisco 49ers are engaged in talks with former All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman about returning to the organization at some point this season, but the Niners are far from the only interested party.
According to a report from Tom Pelissero, of NFL Network and NFL.com, both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks are also keen to acquire the veteran pass defender if, and when, he becomes available.
The Niners and Sherman were engaged in discussions during the offseason but could not come to terms on a price. Talks about potentially pursuing the once-elite level cornerback resumed following an injury to starter Jason Verrett, who tore his ACL in the fourth quarter of the Niners’ Week 1 victory over the Detroit Lions.
“We’ve discussed it,” San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters during a media session on Sunday, September 12. “I’ve talked to Sherm about it too, and Sherm’s always a possibility.”
Niners Already Active in Attempts to Bolster Banged up Defensive Backfield
That was after the team brought in Josh Norman, another nine-year veteran, to bolster a defensive backfield that has been without starting cornerback Emmanuel Moseley for the first two games of the season due to knee issues of his own.
Timeline of Sherman’s Hypothetical Return Unsure
Inking Sherman to a deal is not as simple as it would be with other players, or as it would have been with this player just a few months ago.
The cornerback remains embroiled in a legal issue stemming from an incident in mid-July, during which he allegedly drove under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI) and from which he has found himself charged with five misdemeanors.
Police asserted that Sherman crashed his vehicle into a construction site and left the scene of the incident on foot. Security cameras later caught Sherman on video outside the home of his wife’s parents, screaming and throwing his body against the front door in an attempt to gain unlawful entry to the home — an incident which resulted in the charge of criminal trespassing in the second degree.
The former Pro-Bowler, who spent the previous three years with the Niners, pleaded not guilty to all charges and has since been engaged in therapy, according to Pelissero’s report.
“A person close to Sherman said he has been doing magnetic therapy and speaking with a therapist since the incident, helping him work through many issues he didn’t have the tools to address before,” Pelissero wrote. “He also has dropped 15 pounds — weight he put on after an Achilles tear in 2017 and kept on for most of his three seasons in San Francisco.”
After criticized and botched decisions in the past, the NFL now typically waits to dole out any punishment for a player’s actions until the legal process has concluded. The exact timeline of the issue’s resolution remains an open question.
Furthermore, once Sherman has moved through the court system, and assuming he is a free man, the league’s current substance abuse policy mandates a three-game suspension for an initial DUI. Other penalties could also follow, depending on the court’s decision.
This is all to say that if Sherman does find his way back onto the field for the Niners this season, it may well be later than sooner.