General manager John Lynch doesn't necessarily agree with that characterization of Sherman's future with the franchise.
“Richard and I have a lot of conversations and I have to ask him, ‘Am I talking to Sherm or am I talking to Agent Sherm?'” Lynch told KNBR's "Murph & Mac" on Friday. “I’m never going to not be truthful to any player, but especially a guy like that. He’s a very straight-up guy. By no means have we made a decision that Richard’s not part of our future. I think what we did talk about is we’re dealing with a cap situation that has changed substantially from what we thought might be $225 million pre-pandemic, down to $175 [million], so obviously your plans change and have to. You can’t sign everyone.
“Having said that we also understand what Sherm brings. He said it right after the Rams win. He brings championship pedigree, swagger, confidence. When I look on that field and he’s there, I feel better. It’s because he’s one of the greats ever to do it. So we’re going to try like heck to fit all these greats in."
However, Lynch does acknowledge it will be difficult for the 49ers to re-sign Sherman, given the number of free agents they are set to have and the expected cap downturn due to COVID-19.
“The good news for our fans is there’s a lot of good players who are under contract, we do have a lot of free agents, and there’s a lot of good players there, Sherm being one of them. I think he’s going a little overboard when he says a 'miracle,' but there certainly are challenges that are real and we just don’t have a firm answer yet.”
Sherman, 32, played at a Pro-Bowl level last season. His 2020 campaign has been marred by a calf injury that has caused him to miss nine games.
While the quarterback position gets all the attention, the 49ers will have some big decisions to make this offseason when re-assembling their secondary.
Safety Jimmie Ward will be back. Tarvarius Moore has been given an opportunity to prove he should be the other starting safety, but that hasn't gone well. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley will be a restricted free agent and should return. San Francisco should try to re-sign nickelback K'Waun Williams.
Both Sherman and Jason Verrett are set to be free agents, and the latter is younger and likely will be less expensive.
There's no doubt Lynch, coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers feel better when Sherman is on the field. But they also have to plan for their future. The 49ers want to lock up Fred Warner and Nick Bosa to long-term deals. They also plan to re-sign Trent Williams, who has been as-advertised at left tackle this season.
This offseason will serve as a crossroads for the 49ers and what the roster looks like going forward. As of right now, it feels like Sherman will be playing elsewhere in 2021. But never say never.