The 49ers have been in the market for a veteran cornerback.
In fact, they have added three cornerbacks with extensive NFL starting experience since the end of training camp.
The 49ers never ruled out the possibility of Richard Sherman re-joining the team. But he eliminated that chance Wednesday when he signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs are thin at cornerback after Sean Murphy-Bunting was placed on injured reserve following an elbow injury and Jamel Dean sustained a knee injury in Week 3.
"We’d love to have Richard here, but it made sense why he went to Tampa," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.
The 49ers signed veteran Josh Norman in the days before the regular-season opener. A week later, the 49ers added Dre Kirkpatrick after Jason Verrett sustained a season-ending knee injury.
On Wednesday, the 49ers signed Buster Skrine, who has experience at cornerback and nickelback. Skrine was signed after the 49ers lost nickelback K’Waun Williams for “a few weeks” with a calf injury.
“I think it was more of the timing when we did it,” Shanahan said of the signings of Norman and Kirkpatrick. “We weren’t sure when we were bringing them in whether they were going to be a starter or backup or whether they were even going to dress or help on special teams. We didn’t think that was the time for Sherm.”
General manager John Lynch has been in constant communication with Sherman, Shanahan said. Sherman and his wife, Ashley, traveled to Canton in August to attend Lynch’s party for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
A month earlier, Sherman was arrested in Redmond, Washington. He pleaded not guilty to five non-felony charges: Driving under the influence, reckless endangerment of roadway workers, criminal trespass in the second degree (domestic violence designation), resisting arrest and malicious mischief in the third degree (domestic violence designation).
Sherman, 33, is still subject to discipline under the NFL's policy on personal conduct.
The 49ers projected starters for the remainder of the season are Norman and Emmanuel Moseley, with rookie Deommodore Lenoir and Kirkpatrick as the backups.
Shanahan said Sherman would have needed a couple of weeks to be ready to go as a potential starter with the team’s current makeup at cornerback. Shanahan added that there were contract issues that played into the equation, too.
Sherman spent his first seven NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks and was named to the NFL's All-Decade team of the 2010s. He signed with the 49ers shortly after the Seahawks released him in March of 2018. He appeared in 37 games (all starts) in his three seasons with the 49ers.