49ers

Antonio Cromartie asks 'who cares' in Richard Sherman-Darrelle Revis spat

Antonio Cromartie asks 'who cares' in Richard Sherman-Darrelle Revis spat

Richard Sherman is not mad, it's just funny to him.

The 49ers cornerback didn't take kindly to some social-media criticism from retired All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis, who questioned Sherman's ability to cover wide receivers man-to-man after the veteran allowed his first completion of 20-plus air yards this season

The two traded barbs in the wake of the 49ers advancing to Super Bowl LIV in Miami with a win in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Levi's Stadium, and it wouldn't be beef between the best defensive backs of the 2010s without Antonio Cromartie being brought into the conversation by those looking to embrace debate. 

Cromartie, appearing on Fox Sports 1's "First Fake" "Second Take" "Undisputed" on Monday morning, interjected some surprising nuance into what was already a played-out discussion just over 12 hours after Revis' first tweet. 

"He's doing exactly what he's being coached to do," Cromartie said of Sherman. "And I think everybody need to realize that we don't have to sit here and argue over who is the best corner -- who cares anymore? If the man is out there doing his job every single day, week in and week out, that's all that should matter."

Fatigue with a fatiguing topic doesn't keep the bright studio lights on, however, so Skip Bayless interjected that traveling with a particular receiver is "much harder" than how Sherman is used in the 49ers' defensive scheme and that the All-Pro cornerback isn't "capable" of shadowing a receiver. 

If you feel like you've heard this all before, it's probably because you have. Sherman bristled at the characterization that he simply is a zone cornerback just over a week ago, delivering an impassioned defense of his abilities after intercepting Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins in the 49ers' divisional-round win.

He ripped the idea that he is a "system corner" and Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey -- who, according to Sherman, played in the same system with the Jacksonville Jaguars -- is not. 

“People want to hate me," Sherman said. "Because people want to treat me like a villain. They want me to fail. So, they don’t ever want to let me get what I’m supposed to get. It’s frustrating, but I’m about to talk about it in this press conference.”

[RELATED: 49ers to wear white jerseys, gold pants in Super Bowl LIV]

Perhaps Revis missed Sherman's post-game press conference nine days ago, but his Twitter take had all the hallmarks of a retired player doing their best Uncle Rico impression by remembering their golden days. It's a tale as old as time, just barely pre-dating the tale of overlong morning debate shows using Revis' equivalent of saying he could once throw a pigskin a quarter-mile as a launching point for a way-too-serious discussion on something so insignificant. 

With just under two weeks before the 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs actually play one another in Super Bowl LIV, this almost certainly is not the last time we'll see some variant of Is Richard Sherman Elite. If any ex-players interject further, one can only hope they're as reasonable as Cromartie. 

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday)

49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin announces birth of his daughter Marae

49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin announces birth of his daughter Marae

February 19 was a day Marquise Goodwin and his wife, Morgan, never will forget.

After suffering two miscarriages since November 2017, the Goodwins welcomed their daughter, Marae, to the world. Marquise announced the birth via his social media channels Sunday.

The Goodwins first revealed their pregnancy struggles to the world on Nov. 13, 2017, when the 49ers wide receiver caught an 83-yard touchdown pass shortly after Morgan delivered their stillborn son.

Goodwin blew a kiss to the sky and dropped to his knees after the score. After the game, he posted to Instagram explaining the tragedy that had befallen his family hours before the game.

In 2018, Goodwin had to fly home the day before the 49ers played in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers after Morgan had a miscarriage while carrying their twin boys. 

[RELATED: Mock draft: Updated 49ers first-round pick]

Goodwin's future with the 49ers is uncertain, but for now, all that matters is he's a #GirlDad.

49ers roster analysis: Future secondary needs warrant action now

49ers roster analysis: Future secondary needs warrant action now

This is the eighth installment of a nine-part series that examines the 49ers’ roster coming out of the 2019 season, looks ahead to 2020, and outlines the offseason challenges facing general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan on a position-by-position basis.

Today, a look at the 49ers’ defensive backs.

Under contract (signed through)

-CB Richard Sherman (2020)
-S Jaquiski Tartt (2020)
-CB K’Waun Williams (2020)
-CB Ahkello Witherspoon (2020)
-S Tarvarius Moore (2021)
-CB/S D.J. Reed (2021)
-S Marcell Harris (2020)
-CB Tim Harris (2022)
-CB Teez Tabor (2020)
-S Jacob Thieneman (2021)
-CB Jermaine Kelly (2021)
-S Chris Edwards (2021)
-S Derrick Kindred (2020)

Sherman enters the third year of the three-year, $27.15 million contract he negotiated with the 49ers after the Seattle Seahawks released him in March of 2018. Tartt and Williams also are on the final years of their contracts, so the 49ers could look to extend any of them during the offseason.

Expiring contracts

-S Jimmie Ward (UFA)
-CB Jason Verrett (UFA)
-CB Dontae Johnson (UFA)
-CB Emmanuel Moseley (EFA)

Ward is a priority to re-sign. It’s just a matter of how much attention he receives on the open market (if he gets that far) and how far the 49ers will go to re-sign him.

A year ago, Verrett signed a one-year, prove-it contract. He went on injured reserve early in the season.

Moseley will be back on the team. He has no outside negotiating power because of his status as an exclusive-rights free agent.

What needs to happen

The defensive backfield situation might be the most complex to figure out for the 49ers this offseason. Ward is scheduled to be a free agent, but the 49ers also have three of their other top-five defensive backs entering the final years of their contracts.

First things first, they have to figure out how to approach Ward. They would like to retain him, but there might also be some hesitancy because of his injury history. Ward finally played a 16-game season, but that was only after missing the first three games, then picking up three games in the postseason.

Sherman, who turns 32 next month, had an outstanding regular season. Do the 49ers open talks with him about extending his contract?

On the other side, Moseley ended up as the starter over Witherspoon, who enters the final year of his deal. After the demotion, Witherspoon asked to play more special teams. Moseley generally played well, but he was in the middle of the biggest play of Super Bowl LIV.

Tartt, the starting strong safety, also enters the final year of his contract. He and Ward were high-school teammates and work well together.

Williams, one of the top nickel backs in the league, also is entering the final year of his deal.

The 49ers have just one pick in the first four rounds of the draft. This is why it makes a lot of sense to trade back (and trade back and trade back) to acquire selections in the second, third and fourth rounds.

This is a good draft for defensive backs. And while drafting for need is not often advisable, it becomes a lot better of a plan when it is a need that is projected a year down the road.

[RELATED: Ascending linebackers should make group better in 2020]

Expectations

The 49ers had the best pass defense in the league last season. Despite playing with a lead for most games, the 49ers allowed just 169.2 yards passing per game. That was the lowest average passing yards allowed in the NFL in more than a decade.

It will be nearly impossible to match that level of pass defense of a year ago. So much of the success the 49ers experienced against the pass was a product of the team’s pass rush. That will likely have to be the case again next season.

Teams generally shied away from Sherman’s side. But Sherman gave up a couple of big plays in the postseason, including one late in the Super Bowl. He likely will be challenged more in 2020, which will give him more opportunities to add to his career total of 39 interceptions (including postseason).

The 49ers must find more consistency on the other side. Moseley enters the offseason as the starter. Witherspoon is competing for a role. Tartt appears locked in as one starting safety, but the other spot is wide open at this point.

If Ward does not return to the team, Moore could be next in line to step in as a starter.

If the 49ers use an early draft pick on a safety or cornerback (or both), then competition could potentially lead to a rookie or two in the team’s starting defensive backfield.