49ers

How Richard Sherman's 49ers contract shows off his negotiating skills

How Richard Sherman's 49ers contract shows off his negotiating skills

Richard Sherman was ahead of his time when he negotiated his own incentive-based contract with the 49ers last year.

There was a bit of skepticism directed toward Sherman when he acted as his own agent working out a three-year, $27.1 million contract. His contract is heavily incentive based and gave the 49ers an out after the first season if he wasn’t healthy or things didn’t work out.

The cap hit if the 49ers decided to walk away from Sherman’s contract was only $2 million. If Sherman maxes out his incentives, he could make up to $39.1 million over his three seasons. Sherman bet on himself, which was a risky move coming off his 2017 season-ending Achilles injury.

Criticism toward Sherman, his contract and the negotiation is misplaced. Looking at 2019, the 49ers worked out several similarly incentive-based contracts with their free agent signings. Sherman actually saved himself money by avoiding paying a percentage to an agent.

Defensive lineman Dee Ford signed a five-year $85 million contract. When you look more closely at the contract, the team again protected themselves as his salary in his second season is not guaranteed until April 1, 2020.

Ford has several bonuses built into his contract for workouts, games played and making the Pro Bowl in each season. His contract could be interpreted as a one-year agreement for $19.75 million.

Linebacker Kwon Alexander’s four-year $54 million contract is also a prove-it based agreement. Like Ford, his salary for his second season with the 49ers is not guaranteed until April 1, 2020. He is coming off a season ending ACL injury and is planning on being ready for the offseason.

Alexander’s contract is ultimately a one-year $15 million agreement with several bonuses built in just like Ford.

Running back Tevin Coleman has the same April 1, 2020 trigger in his two-year $8.5 million contact. If he earns all of his bonuses he can earn a maximum of over $10 million. On the other hand, the team can walk away without consequences after the 2019 season with no cap hit.

Cornerback Jason Verrett’s one-year $3 million contract is only approximately half guaranteed. He has per game roster bonuses that total $1.5 million if he plays in every game. He is coming back from an Achilles injury that occurred on the first day of the 2018 offseason.

Long snapper Kyle Nelson’s four-year deal may be the safest for the team. None of his salary becomes guaranteed until three days after reinstatement from his suspension. If he does finish out the 2019 season with the 49ers, and the team decides to go another way in 2020, there is no cap hit for the team.

The April 1, 2020 date built into many of the contracts is important for the team. It gives them more than two weeks of free agency to evaluate their options if they so choose.

[RELATED: How 49ers' starting lineups look after first wave of free-agent signings]

Sherman not only benefitted by not having to pay an agent, he added specific bonuses into his contract. He receives $1 million for playing 90-percent of the season, $1 million for making the Pro Bowl and an additional $2 million for being named an All Pro.

It is not yet known if other players have similar additional incentives built into their contracts. Even if they do, the critics of Sherman's negotiating abilities finally should be silenced.

49ers fear top nose tackle D.J. Jones out for season with ankle injury

49ers fear top nose tackle D.J. Jones out for season with ankle injury

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers absorbed another big loss from their exciting victory in New Orleans on Sunday, as starting nose tackle D.J. Jones sustained a “significant” ankle injury, coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday.

Shanahan said the 49ers are bracing to lose Jones for the remainder of the season. Jones started all 11 games in which he appeared this season. He has recorded 23 tackles and two sacks.

“We’re worried about it,” Shanahan said. “We’ll wait on some other opinions and stuff, but it’s a pretty significant one.”

The 49ers could activate defensive lineman Kentavius Street from injured reserve. He began practicing with the club last week after going on IR before the first game of the regular season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. Street was a fourth-round pick of the 49ers in 2018 from North Carolina State. He missed his entire rookie season with an ACL injury.

“It feel great,” Street said. ‘Just knocking some rust off, just making sure my tools are as sharp as they can be. But besides that, I feel great. . . Oh, yeah. I could run through a wall right now.”

In Jones’ absence, the 49ers can turn to Solomon Thomas or Sheldon Day to start at nose tackle, with DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead also capable of playing different spots on the defensive line.

“He’s irreplaceable,” Buckner said. “D.J. is explosive. He can really hurt you in the run game and you saw his pass-rush skills. He just goes right through people. He’s a really good D-lineman, and he’s going to be one of the guys who’s really missed.

“Everybody has to kick up their game a notch.”

The 49ers placed two offensive players on season-ending injured reserve this week. Center Weston Richburg sustained a torn patellar tendon in the victory over the Saints. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is out with knee and ankle issues.

“That’s December football,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “Everyone across the league has that, dealing with injuries. But it’s just when guys get their number called, whether it’s offense, defense or special teams, guys who haven’t even played that much, they’re just ready for the moment. And so you got to appreciate that.

“I think you got to give our coaches a lot of credit for getting those ready in practice, the behind-the-scenes stuff and it’s starting to pay off now.”

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have built enough depth on the team over the past three seasons to be able to withstand a lot of injuries. That depth will be needed more than ever, with defensive end Dee Ford and cornerback Richard Sherman also expected to miss time with injuries.

“(With) John and Kyle, the past couple years have been really hard,” Buckner said. “We’ve been rebuilding, obviously. Just to have that patience to (build) that depth that we have now, it’s working out for us.”

[RELATED: Falcons coach defends Shanahan's play-calling in Super Bowl]

Practice participation

The following players are not scheduled to practice on Wednesday:

DE Dee Ford (hamstring)
DT D.J. Jones (ankle)
CB Richard Sherman (hamstring)
SS Jaquiski Tartt (ribs)
DT Jullian Taylor (elbow)
CB K’Waun Williams (concussion)

Falcons coach Dan Quinn defends Kyle Shanahan's Super Bowl play-calling

Falcons coach Dan Quinn defends Kyle Shanahan's Super Bowl play-calling

While a lot of the football world criticized Kyle Shanahan for how things went wrong in the fourth quarter of the Falcons' 34-28 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl 51, Dan Quinn remembers a lot of the things that went right that day.

“There’s always criticism after the fact, but he made a hell of a lot of good calls, too,” the Falcons coach said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

Shanahan got out of his contract with the Cleveland Browns after the 2014 season so he could join Quinn’s staff as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Shanahan spent two seasons working under Quinn.

Shanahan and Quinn will meet for the first time as head coaches Sunday at Levi’s Stadium when the 49ers play host to the Falcons.

Under Shanahan’s offensive guidance, the Falcons had the league’s highest-scoring team and the No. 2-ranked offense in yards, and quarterback Matt Ryan won the NFL’s MVP with the best season of his career. Shanahan was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.

But after leading the New England Patriots, 28-3, in the second half of Super Bowl 51, things fell apart.

Shanahan was roundly criticized for being too aggressive with his play calls, the Falcons’ defense imploded, and the Patriots rallied for the victory in overtime. Critics point to a strip-sack of Ryan in the middle of the fourth quarter with the Falcons leading by 16 points and the failure to run the ball later to chew up more clock.

“If there were one or two (calls) that he’d like to have back, well, that is in any game,” Quinn said. “I’d love to have any game rip and go like you want. But all of it, you learn from. And then you don’t really get to apply it until you’re in that moment again.

“The guy is a hell of a play-caller, and a hell of a football coach. I think he proved that then, and continues to do that today.”

The following day, Feb. 6, 2017, the 49ers officially announced Shanahan as the organization’s 20th head coach.

The 49ers currently rank No. 2 in points (30.5) and fourth in yards (388.6), while the Falcons are 14th in points (23.1) and seventh in yards (376.5).

The 49ers (11-2) are tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the best record in the NFL. The Falcons (4-9) are playing much better, winning three of their past five games.

Quinn said he always has been impressed with Shanahan’s ability to adapt his scheme, going back to when he implemented the read option in Washington with Robert Griffin as his quarterback.

“Here, we ripped it quite a bit with Matt,” Quinn said. “Now, he’s back in terms of the run game and how that’s a factor. I think he’s done it in a number of different ways. I wouldn’t say I don’t think it’s more emptying the playbook one side or the other. But what he’s always had is a really bold and aggressive nature to make plays.”

[RELATED: Why 49ers' McGlinchey can't wait to face Falcons QB Ryan]

Shanahan was particularly creative with his play-calling in the 49ers’ 48-46 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Quinn said it goes back to Shanahan’s preparation and his “concrete way” he builds a game plan.

“I think that’s an example in that game of, ‘OK, we’re going to have to score some points,’ and find some ways to create some momentum, and he was bold enough to do that,” Quinn said. “That really sums up who he is as a play-caller.”