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.