The Seattle Seahawks released four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman on Friday morning.
It did not take long for the 49ers to get involved.
Coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area that he dined with Sherman on Friday night in Los Gatos.
"Just doing our due diligence,” Shanahan said.
Sherman told ESPN he had already received preliminary interest from the 49ers, Raiders, Tennessee, Detroit, Houston, Tampa Bay and Green Bay. The Athletic was first to report Sherman had dinner with Shanahan.
Sherman, who turns 30 on March 30, has been a nemesis of the 49ers since breaking into the NFL in 2011. He attended Stanford, where he played for former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
Sherman's aggressive play, talkative nature and rivalries with Harbaugh, Michael Crabtree and Colin Kaepernick helped fuel an already-tense competition in the NFC West.
He broke up Kaepernick's last-minute pass to Crabtree in the end zone, resulting in Malcolm Smith's interception, to defeat the 49ers in the NFC Championship game in January 2014. The Seahawks went on to their first Super Bowl title.
He has 32 interceptions in his 105-game career and has been named three times as a first-team All-Pro selection. After playing in all 16 games during his first six NFL seasons, Sherman was limited to nine game last season.
Sherman is coming off surgeries on both Achilles tendons. ESPN reports 49ers officials will again meet with Sherman on Saturday. He is likely to undergo a physical. If everything goes well, the sides could pursue a contract, according to the report.
He sustained a season-ending ruptured right Achilles in November and underwent surgery. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine Sherman also underwent “clean up” surgery on his left Achilles.
“Very positive,” Carroll said a week before the Seahawks informed Sherman of his release. “He’s had a seemingly great process up until now. It’s a bit of a setback for a couple of weeks now because he is in the boot on the other foot, but he is not slowing down. He is working like crazy. He is having a fantastic offseason. His mentality is good. He’s competing like crazy right now.”
Sherman (6-3, 195) is viewed as the prototypical cornerback for the 49ers’ scheme, which is based on Seattle defense. Robert Saleh, the 49ers’ defensive coordinator, was the Seahawks’ quality control coach during Sherman’s first three NFL seasons.
Cornerback is the 49ers' biggest need with the start of free agency scheduled for next week. The open negotiating period begins Monday afternoon, and teams can begin signing free agents from other teams on Wednesday. Sherman is free to sign with any team at any time because Seattle released him.
Ahkello Witherspoon, who had a solid rookie season, is the only starting cornerback on the 49ers' roster. Dontae Johnson, who started all 16 games is scheduled for unrestricted free agency. The 49ers are not expected to place a high priority on re-signing Johnson.
Sherman earned $11.4 million in salary in 2017 and was scheduled to make $11 million. The Seahawks released him with the designation "failed physical." Sherman thanked the Seahawks organization and its fans via Twitter after his release on Friday.
"As this chapter comes to a close, I am looking forward to what the future holds," Sherman wrote.