SF 49ers: 5 cornerbacks who could replace Richard Sherman in 2021

Richard Sherman, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Richard Sherman, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Richard Sherman, SF 49ers
Richard Sherman #25 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

Niner Noise looks at five cornerback options for the SF 49ers to replace Richard Sherman.

The 2020 SF 49ers defense went into last season looking to replicate their success from 2019, when that unit ranked No. 2 in Football Outsiders‘ DVOA metric, and finished second in pass defense.

Instead, the Niners struggled all season with unprecedented injuries across their roster, starting with season-ending ACL injuries to defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas early on, and the loss of cornerback Richard Sherman for all but five games to a calf injury.

Yet to the players and coaching staff’s credit, the defense rallied and played some very solid football for the majority of the season. The team finished 17th overall on the season in total defense.

However, with virtually the entire secondary aside from safety Jimmie Ward, set to hit some form of free agency, there will undoubtedly be changes this offseason.

Sherman has all but conceded he will be not be coming back in 2021, which means general manager John Lynch and the rest of the front office will be at the very least looking for a replacement for their No. 1 cornerback position.

It is very conceivable the team could look to retain unrestricted free-agent cornerback Jason Verrett and restricted free-agent cornerback Emmanuel Moseley with some savvy salary cap manipulation. Both played well last season, Verrett in particular. K’Waun Williams, widely regarded as one of the top slot cornerbacks in the league, could be priced too high in free agency for the SF 49ers to bring back, especially in an offseason that could see the cap drop to $180 million.

Either way, with Sherman surely departing, the team will explore all options including the 2021 NFL Draft and free agency to help replenish the defensive secondary for next year.

With that said, we will look at five options currently not on the roster to replace Sherman at cornerback this offseason.

No. 5: Rasul Douglas, Carolina Panthers

The 6-foot-2, 209-pound cornerback, Rasul Douglas, had five interceptions during his first three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Last year, the former West Virginia Mountaineer started 14 games for the Carolina Panthers and had a Pro Football Focus grade of 60.3. He did not record an interception but did finish with 62 tackles and nine passes defended. For comparison, Moseley finished with a PFF grade of 58.3 for the Niners in 2020.

Douglas is a solid veteran option who could work well in a zone scheme, covering for his lack of footspeed.

And while his productivity lacks the gaudy interception numbers (five interceptions in three years), Douglas could very well be an affordable solid option who could function well with a potential top-notch defensive line in front of him.