Richard Sherman is not likely to return to the 49ers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Where Sherman ends up will be one of the big storylines in the early days of free agency: Will he remain on the West Coast? Will he remain at cornerback?
“Richard is going to do what’s best for his family,” NFL reporter Josina Anderson said on 49ers Talk. “He’s very family-oriented, and that will come into play with any decision he makes, in terms of location.”
Sherman’s wife and children remained in the family's year-round Seattle-area home during the football season. He grew up in Los Angeles, went to college at Stanford and spent his first 10 NFL seasons in the NFC West with Seattle and the 49ers.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden recently expressed interest in Sherman. The New York Jets could also be interested, as new head coach Robert Saleh looks to build his program.
Sherman, who turns 33 on March 30, is coming off a season in which he missed 11 games due to a calf condition. He could be among a group of veteran players who feels the impact of the league’s lowering salary cap.
“I think that you’re going to see a lot of one-year deals, potentially with a guy like Richard,” Anderson said. “What is that money amount that’s going to make him OK with that, and if he’s able to squeak out a one-plus-one with any team.”
Sherman has not ruled out a transition to free safety, where he might be able to better use his film study, knowledge and instincts to add to his career total of 40 interceptions.
Anderson, who broke the news three years ago of Sherman signing with the 49ers, said she believes he will consider the situation that affords him the best opportunity to make an impact.
“He’s very competitive,” Anderson said. “Whatever defense that he’s analyzing, he’s going to look at what that particular scheme calls on him to do. And how much of a good light it would put himself in, in terms of how he plays in the secondary.
“I think he’ll be open to any way he can be most impactful and look the most impactful, too.”