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Source: 49ers, Richard Sherman agree to three-year deal

Source: 49ers, Richard Sherman agree to three-year deal

Cornerback Richard Sherman, the 49ers’ biggest nemesis for most of the past decade, is reportedly joining the organization he tormented for so long.

For the 49ers, the reasoning seems to be, “If you can’t beat ‘em, sign ‘em.”

Sherman and the 49ers agreed on a three-year contract Saturday, a source confirmed. Sherman told ESPN the deal is worth up to $39.15 million.

Sherman’s seven-year union with the Seattle Seahawks came to an end on Friday, as the club released him to avoid playing his scheduled $11 million salary for the 2018 season.

He had dinner Friday night with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and spent most of Saturday with club officials in Santa Clara. He also took a physical. Sherman represented himself in negotiations. ESPN first reported the three-year agreement. He told ESPN the contract is worth up to $39.5 million.

Sherman, who turns 30 on March 30, is a four-time Pro Bowl player and a three-time selection as a first-team All-Pro. After playing all 16 games in his first six seasons, Sherman’s season came to an end in November after nine games due to a torn right Achilles tendon.

The original timetable for Sherman’s return to football activity was 6-to-8 months, which would place his return from mid-May to mid-July – in time for the opening of training camp. Dr. Robert Anderson performed the surgery in Green Bay on Nov. 16.

Sherman also recently underwent a procedure to “clean up” his left Achilles.

Since Sherman’s rookie year of 2011, he leads the NFL with 32 interceptions and 99 passes broken up. He has been particularly disruptive – both with his skills and his mouth – against the 49ers.

Sherman made the play in the final minute of the NFC Championship game in January 2014 to deflect a Colin Kaepernick pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone. Linebacker Malcolm Smith, now with the 49ers, made the interception to set up Seattle’s first and only Super Bowl title.

Beginning with that game, the Seahawks have won nine consecutive head-to-head matchups against the 49ers.

The addition of Sherman fills the 49ers’ biggest offseason need. Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon had a promising rookie season, but the 49ers did not have another starter-caliber cornerback on their roster before the addition of Sherman.

Dontae Johnson, who started all 16 games at cornerback for the 49ers last season, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. The 49ers are not expected to place a high priority on re-signing Johnson.

'Ongoing process' for free agent Richard Sherman

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USATSI

'Ongoing process' for free agent Richard Sherman

Free-agent cornerback Richard Sherman, acting as his own agent, suggested Saturday he is not close to making a decision about his future.

Sherman spent Friday night with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan at a Los Gatos restaurant. He was scheduled to meet with 49ers officials on Saturday, and was expected to take a physical.

At noon on Saturday, Sherman updated his situation via social media.

“Thank you to everyone for the kind words,” Sherman wrote on Twitter. “This is just another chapter in the journey. This will be an ongoing process and I am excited to take on this challenge. To the fans urging me to join your team, I am humbled but I can only look at the teams that have reached out.”

Sherman has a visit scheduled next week with the Detroit Lions, the NFL Network reported.

He had dinner Friday night with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.

“Just doing our due diligence,” Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Nothing to report, yet.”

Sherman, who turns 30 later this month, was selected to the Pro Bowl in four of his first seven NFL seasons. He was a first-team All-Pro three times.

The Seattle Seahawks released/failed physical on Friday to avoid paying his scheduled $11 million salary for the 2018 season. He underwent season-ending surgery to repair his right Achilles tendon. Sherman also recently underwent “clean up” procedure on his left Achilles.

How Richard Sherman fits into 49ers' offseason plans

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AP

How Richard Sherman fits into 49ers' offseason plans

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan met newly available veteran cornerback Richard Sherman and his wife for dinner Friday night in Los Gatos.

“Just doing our due diligence,” Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Nothing to report, yet.”

Sherman, who is representing himself in talks with teams, can sign with any team at any time because the Seattle Seahawks released him on Friday. He is expected to undergo a physical on Saturday. Sherman sustained a season-ending right Achilles injury in November, and he recently had a "clean-up" procedure on his left Achilles.

Of course, the possibility of the 49ers adding Sherman to the mix before the start of free agency could impact the team’s strategy at its biggest position of need. The 49ers do not have a second starting cornerback. Sherman would fill that void.

Here are some pressing questions of 49ers fans (via Facebook) as the start of free agency nears:

If the 49ers sign Richard Sherman would they still be in play for Trumaine Johnson from the Rams?‬ (Jonathan Pitts‪)
I doubt the 49ers will be big players for Trumaine Johnson, regardless. It’s hard to believe that is a prudent move. The 49ers have made it clear they will target players who fit their model for sustained success. Johnson will command big money, and he has not been a take-half-the-field-away type of player that his price tag suggests he should be.

I would imagine signing Sherman would not preclude Lynch/Shanahan from signing another corner or two in free agency, right?‬ (‪Benson Collins)
The 49ers were extremely excited about the development of Ahkello Witherspoon as a rookie. But other than Witherspoon, the 49ers do not have a starter-caliber cornerback on their roster.

Two scheduled free agents who I believe are system fits – and, possibly salary fits – are Aaron Colvin (Jacksonville) and Rashaan Melvin (Indianapolis). Regardless of what happens with Sherman, I expect the 49ers to at least investigate the possibility of getting a deal done with either of those two players.

Are we done filling in the WR position for 2018? (Max Moorman)
No, but I do not expect the 49ers to break the bank on a high-priced wide receiver, such as Allen Robinson or Sammy Watkins. But we shall see.

The 49ers have reason to feel good about their top three: Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor in the slot.

Veteran Aldrick Robinson fits a role, and Kendrick Bourne has a chance to take a big step in his second season. Goodwin had his breakout season to earn a three-year contract extension through the 2021 season. I think the 49ers would like to work another receiver into the rotation so that Goodwin does not have to play as much as he did last season.

The 49ers’ best option might be to use a draft pick within the first three rounds on a player to develop – without the urgency to rush him into the action and become a major contributor as a rookie.

What about Alfred Morris, a cheap stopgap RB who knows Kyle's system and still draft a RB? Morris, Breida, Williams, rookie? (John Mayfield) 
The 49ers really appreciated Carlos Hyde’s approach last season. That said, I think they believe he is not the perfect fit for Shanahan’s scheme. Ideally, they would like a running back who can make more plays on his own.

Morris and Isaiah Crowell would both be very good options as free agents to pair with Matt Breida. It’s all about the cost, though. The door is open to re-sign Hyde. The markets of Hyde, Morris and Crowell will determine what happens in free agency.

The 49ers can be expected to sign a free agent. It could be a buyer’s market for veteran running backs because there are so many great options available in a very deep draft.

Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner fell in love with Joe Williams before last year’s draft. He has the skills the 49ers want from that position. However, Williams did not impress during the offseason program and training camp. He still has a chance, but now the onus is on him to prove himself or he will not make it to the regular-sesson roster.

Any news on Frank Gore's potential landing spots? (Isael Martin Ojeda Serrano)
I spoke at length with Frank Gore last weekend in Indianapolis. He wanted to talk a lot about the 49ers. You better believe he is watching what the 49ers are doing, and he definitely approves of the direction the team is heading under Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch.

I got the sense that Gore felt he would end up with a team. He told me his is not going to sign with just any team for 2018. He does not want to "pad his stats." He wants to play somewhere that makes sense for both parties.

But I do not believe the 49ers will be that team. He is not a great fit for what Shanahan wants from his offense at this stage.

But when I brought up the subject of Gore returning to the 49ers on a ceremonial contract after he has played his final NFL game, Gore could not have been any more enthusiastic. That will almost certainly happen.