49ers

Richard Sherman believes 49ers will target Earl Thomas in NFL free agency

richardshermanusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Richard Sherman believes 49ers will target Earl Thomas in NFL free agency

SANTA CLARA -- When the 49ers implemented their defensive system last year, two players from outside the organization were held up as models for how their respective positions in the secondary should be played.

The 49ers signed one of those players in the offseason after the Seattle Seahawks released veteran cornerback Richard Sherman. And if the 49ers need anyone to present a recruiting pitch to the other individual, free safety Earl Thomas, they don't have to look too far for a volunteer.

Sherman said he believes the 49ers will be interested in Thomas, but there should be plenty of competition, too.

“If they need me to be, I have no problem with it,” Sherman told reporters Thursday. “I think this is a pretty attractive destination as is. But money is the best recruiter. I’ll give my two cents. I’ll give you my best recruiting pitch.”

The 49ers are likely to have approximately $70 million in salary-cap space at the beginning of the free-agent signing period. The open negotiating period begins March 11, and teams are allowed to sign free agents starting March 13.

Thomas, a nine-year NFL veteran, has been selected to six Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams. During his time with the Seahawks, he intercepted 28 passes and forced 11 fumbles.

In hopes of leveraging a new contract with the Seahawks or forcing a trade, Thomas sat out training camp at the beginning of the final year of his contract. After he reported to the team at the start of the regular season, Thomas sustained a season-ending fractured leg in Week 4.

As Thomas was carted off the field, he made an obscene gesture toward the Seahawks sideline, further driving home the point that his time in Seattle was over.

[RELATED: Sherman is one of Mullens' go-to guys for advice]

Thomas is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, and Sherman wasn't shy about discussing the possibility that his former teammate could join him in Santa Clara.

“Would I love to play with Earl Thomas III? I would love to,” Sherman said. “I would love to have him back in the locker room. But I’m sure he’ll have a plethora of opportunities, and I’m sure we’re going to throw our hat in the ring.”

The 49ers have a group of young safeties, but no guaranteed starters among the group that includes Jaquiski Tartt, Adrian Colbert, Marcell Harris and D.J. Reed.

Jalen Ramsey trade: Jaguars deal cornerback to Rams for draft picks

ramseybetterusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Jalen Ramsey trade: Jaguars deal cornerback to Rams for draft picks

The 49ers really messed with the Rams' heads.

In the wake of Los Angeles' 20-7 loss to San Francisco in Week 6, the Rams first traded cornerback Marcus Peters to the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday, and then made an even bigger move.

The Jaguars traded cornerback Jalen Ramsey to the Rams in exchange for two first-round and one fourth-round draft pick.

[RELATED: Why gap between 49ers, Rams won't close after Ramsey trade]

Ramsey is arguably the best cornerback in the game, and has widely been rumored to be on the trade block ever since getting into a sideline confrontation with Jacksonville coach Doug Marrone in Week 2.

The All-Pro cornerback got his wish and got out of Jacksonville. The 49ers will see him in Week 16 when the Rams visit Levi's Stadium.

Why Rams' Jalen Ramsey trade will not close growing gap behind 49ers

Why Rams' Jalen Ramsey trade will not close growing gap behind 49ers

Two days after the unbeaten 49ers sent the Los Angeles Rams to their third consecutive loss, the two-time defending NFC West champions reacted.

The Rams traded away cornerback Marcus Peters -- who intercepted Jimmy Garoppolo in the end zone Sunday and acquired linebacker Kenny Young and a fifth-round draft pick. Then, the Rams put the finishing touches on a trade to acquire disgruntled cornerback Jalen Ramsey from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Rams sent first-round picks in 2020 and ’21 to Jacksonville, along with a fourth-round selection in ’21.

When Ramsey asked for a trade last month, the 49ers were not interested in paying the price, NBC Sports Bay Area reported. General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan were not willing to give up the high draft picks, coupled with the big contract that Ramsey will be seeking when his contract expires.

Ramsey is a great player, of course. He scheduled to make $13.7 million in 2020, the final year of his deal. The Rams are parting ways with two first-round draft picks for a player they have under contract for only one-and-a-half seasons.

If the 49ers’ 20-7 win over the Rams on Sunday showed anything, it’s that the Rams need a lot of help in front of quarterback Jared Goff. The 49ers’ defensive line thoroughly overmatched the Los Angeles offensive line. Goff looked shaken and unsteady. The Rams managed just 48 net passing yards.

The Rams have an obvious need on their offensive line -- especially with Andrew Whitworth, a 14-year veteran, lining up at left tackle. This could be the end of the road for him.

With the college game producing a dearth of offensive linemen, any team that needs help at tackle must invest a high draft pick to get a talented player at that position.

Los Angeles made the decision to acquire one of the league’s best cornerbacks for the next one-and-a-half seasons at the expense of, potentially, beefing up their offensive line with a player who could provide a counter-balance to the 49ers’ strength on the defensive line.

Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead have reason to be excited about facing this collection of Rams offensive linemen for a while.

[RELATED: 49ers' Breida impressed by defense in win against Rams]

Can Ramsey cover tight end George Kittle? That’s about the only way Ramsey can help the Rams in head-to-head matchups against the 49ers.

Lynch and Shanahan have put together a long-term plan designed at doing their best to ensure the 49ers can remain competitive on a yearly basis. This trade by an NFC West opponent is a big step toward them achieving that goal.