Should the 49ers sign Richard Sherman in free agency?

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 01: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks tackles Chris Harper #14 of the San Francisco 49ers on January 1, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 01: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks tackles Chris Harper #14 of the San Francisco 49ers on January 1, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Richard Sherman is reportedly leaving the Seattle Seahawks, longtime rival of the 49ers. Should San Francisco add him in NFL free agency?

Long before I became a die-hard San Francisco 49ers fan, I watched my first NFL game — the 2014 NFC Championship between the 49ers and Seahawks. I live in the Bay Area, so I was naturally rooting for the Niners with my friends.

And then we all know what happened at the end of the game.

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman tipped Colin Kaepernick’s pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone, and the ball bounced into now-49er Malcolm Smith’s hands. The Seahawks won the game, but no, the madness did not stop there. Right after the game, Sherman infamously ripped Crabtree and called himself the best cornerback in the game.

And from that point on, I have absolutely despised Sherman as a player and as a person.

Fast forward to March 2018. The 49ers are on the rise after what is quite possibly the shortest rebuild of all time. They are just a couple players away from being championship contenders. And the Seahawks are crumbling, firing most of their coaches and getting rid of players on their 2013-2014 championship defensive unit. Their only source of offense is from quarterback Russell Wilson, who is still thriving.

And the writing is on the wall for Sherman, the Seahawks franchise cornerback and most notable player on the “Legion of Boom” defense, to leave:

And even though I probably dislike Sherman more than any other player in the league, I think the 49ers would be wise to sign him in free agency.

I strongly believe that cornerback is the biggest hole that the 49ers currently need to fill on their roster. San Francisco had the sixth best rush defense in the league in 2017, but was also ranked 22nd in pass defense even with some great safeties in Eric Reid, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert patrolling the defensive backfield. Opposing teams would always target the cornerbacks in Robert Saleh’s defense — and would often succeed while throwing in their direction.

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

Besides promising second-year cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, the 49ers have nobody at outside cornerback. That’s where Sherman comes in.

Even at 29 years of age, Sherman is still one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Any avid NFL fan can see that he still hasn’t lost any of that confident swagger and toughness on the field because he still plays coverage on receivers extremely well. Inserting Sherman into the 49ers defense would immediately bolster the unit by a large margin.

Plus, he is familiar with defensive coordinator’s Robert Saleh’s 4-3 defense. Saleh, who was the defensive quality control coach on the Seahawks during their championship run, has built a defensive scheme in San Francisco that essentially copies Seattle’s defensive scheme down to the last formation. Moving to San Francisco would be the easiest transition Sherman can have — he would be playing in the exact same defense he has been playing in for his whole career.

However, again, Sherman is 29 years old and will be 30 by the start of the 2018 season. That’s why the 49ers should sign him to a low-risk, short-term deal. If he proves that he can still hold up as a solid cornerback despite facing Father Time, the team can keep on giving him short extensions until age does catch up to him.

There’s no more rebuilding for San Francisco. The time is now, and the 49ers are in a position to contend for a Super Bowl.

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Sherman would undoubtedly contribute to that cause.