49ers

Richard Sherman explains what makes Kyle Shanahan, Pete Carroll different

Richard Sherman explains what makes Kyle Shanahan, Pete Carroll different

Richard Sherman has played for two of the most respected head coaches in the NFL through his first nine years in the league.

The veteran cornerback has spent time with both Pete Carroll in Seattle and Kyle Shanahan since signing with the 49ers ahead of the 2018 season. He certainly has been lucky in the regard, reaching three Super Bowls and winning one with the Seahawks. Both coaches have similarities, but what about their differences? 

In speaking with NFL Media's Jim Trotter, Sherman recently said the three biggest traits a great coach must have are philosophy/honesty, knowledge of the game and staff assembly. For example, Sherman called Shanahan "one of the best offensive minds we've ever had in this game," and highlighted how Carroll brought the Cover 3 defense to the NFL. 

The biggest difference between the two in Sherman's eyes is communication. Carroll is Mr. Positive, while Shanahan can be brutally honest. 

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"He's more of a straight shooter than Pete," Sherman said. "Pete has a way of making sure everybody feels good, making sure he pushes buttons with certain players and not pushing buttons on other players.

"Kyle is different. He's one size fits all. 'I'm going to cut it to you as straight as I can, as best as I can, and I'm going to explain every single detail of what I understand about the game that either makes this a good play or a bad play or makes us a good team or a bad team.'"

Sherman is known to be quite the straight shooter himself. The 32-year-old won't hold back. He's going to tell you exactly how feels. That seems to be something he really respects about Shanahan, too.

"That honesty is something that I think is valuable in a head coach because there's no gray area," Sherman explained. "You know where you stand at all times, almost to a point where you're like, 'Damn! That's how you really feel?' But you can respect that as a player because what he's saying is objective: Did we win or lose the down? Why did we win or lose the down?

"If you can give him a fair point back to him, he can take that. He's flexible in that way."

[RELATED: Lott believes Shanahan is 49ers' modern version of Walsh]

So far, so good when it comes to Sherman and Shanahan. While Sherman never was 100 percent healthy his first season with the 49ers, one in which they won only four games, he was back to full strength last year and both player and coach thrived. As Shanahan led the 49ers to 13 regular-season wins, an NFC West title and Super Bowl appearance, Sherman was a Second-Team All-Pro at 31 years old.

Sherman knows what makes a great coach. He has seen it in both Carroll and Shanahan. And it's clear he believes in his current coach to the highest degree.

How George Kittle's new contract compares to tight ends, NFL stars

How George Kittle's new contract compares to tight ends, NFL stars

A record-setting tight end deserves a record-setting contract. And that's exactly what the 49ers handed George Kittle on Thursday morning. 

Kittle's agent, Jack Bechta, confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that his client has agreed to a five-year, $75 million contract extension. That is the largest contract handed out to a tight end in NFL history, and it's not even close. 

Kittle was the set to earn just over $2.1 million this season as he entered the final year of his rookie contract. He has been incredibly underpaid since the 49ers took him in the fifth round of the 2017 draft, to say the least. Ahead of the 2020 season, they took care of that and kept him in Santa Clara for a very long time. 

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

This whole time, Kittle and his agent have been looking for a contract that properly fits what he brings to the 49ers. He's much more than just a tight end. Kittle is the closest thing to a unicorn in the NFL, someone who thrives as both a blocker and receiver. His peers voted him as the seventh-best player, not just tight end, in the NFL for a reason.

When it comes to top receivers, he still has a ways to go. Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones leads the way with $22 million in avergae annual salary. Among receiver, Kittle would come in at 12th, right behind Jarvis Landry of the Cleveland Browns ($15.1 million). Even Brandin Cooks ($16.2 million), who only had 583 yards receiving last season, makes more than Kittle.

[RELATED: Kittle, 49ers' front office come to only reasonable solution]

The highest-paid 49ers receiver, however, is Kendrick Bourne at just under $3.26 million.

Kittle has proven he's far and away the best tight end in football. He's now paid like that, along with being a top receiver as well.

George Kittle, 49ers get to only reasonable destination with extension

George Kittle, 49ers get to only reasonable destination with extension

When teams get good in a hurry, as the 49ers did last season, there are difficult decisions that must follow.

Trading defensive tackle DeForest Buckner? Yes, that qualifies.

Holding onto George Kittle? Not exactly.

Sure, it took a while to arrive at the years, dollars and structure that agent Jack Bechta negotiated with the 49ers, but this was something that had to get done. There was no other reasonable option.

It is a five-year, $75 million contract with a signing bonus of $18 million, Bechta told NBC Sports Bay Area. The contract includes $30 million guaranteed at signing and $40 million in total guarantees.

[RELATED: Jaquiski Tartt didn't worry Jamal Adams would replace him on 49ers]

Even during a pandemic with an uncertain salary cap for future seasons, this makes complete sense for the 49ers. This was the wise decision. The recent past dictated that there was no other decision for the present and future of the franchise.

After all, if you’re not going to pay George Kittle, who are you going to pay?

It’s not hyperbole to recognize that Kittle is the most impactful offensive player -- not playing quarterback -- in the league.

At the very least, with his combination of receiving production and dominance as a blocker in the run game, there’s no other offensive player who possibly could be more valuable to the 49ers and coach Kyle Shanahan’s system.

Kittle is getting what he deserves.

And this is a load off everybody’s mind heading into the season.

George Kittle is not going anywhere for a while.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]