SF 49ers free agency: Richard Sherman back to Seahawks?

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (25) Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Richard Sherman has indicated he won’t be back with the SF 49ers in 2021. So is a reunion with his old team, the Seahawks, possible?

For years, SF 49ers fans watched as cornerback Richard Sherman tormented them when he was with the Seattle Seahawks.

And while the initial reaction of Sherman switching sides in the NFC West to join the Niners in 2018 were likely mixed, those negative sentiments quickly evaporated when Sherman rose as a mentor, team captain and vital part of San Francisco’s defense.

Soon to be 33 years old and coming off a 2020 campaign in which the five-time Pro Bowler saw action in just five games because of injuries, Sherman is no longer the player he once was during his prime. Even he said he wants to play only two more years, and Sherman also made it “pretty clear” a new deal with the SF 49ers isn’t on the horizon.

So, could Sherman return back to the Niners’ divisional archrivals?

Don’t rule it out.

As our friends over at 12th Man Rising pointed out, Sherman going back to his original NFL team is a possibility worth exploring:

"Sherman might still want $10 million or more a season but with a reduced salary cap, he is probably not going to get that. Would he settle for $9 million each for two more years? If so, Seattle should try to sign him. [Shaquill] Griffin might sign for $14 million elsewhere so Seattle in essence would save $5 million a year. Even if Sherman signs for $10 million and Griffin $12.5 million elsewhere, that is a $2.5 million savings for comparable players."

SB Nation’s Field Gulls doesn’t think a Sherman-Seattle reunion is in the cards, particularly based on the fact the Seahawks have just over $4.3 million in cap space.

But like San Francisco, some modest roster jockeying could free up whatever space would be needed for a would-be free-agent deal.

Does Richard Sherman make sense for Seattle in other areas?

The Seahawks owned the league’s 15th best scoring defense in 2020 and gave up the second most pass yards in the NFL (4,560). Griffin, along with fellow defensive backs Quinton Dunbar and Neiko Thorpe, are poised to hit the free-agent market. And with only four picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, it’s going to be difficult for Seattle to reinforce what was a lackluster secondary already with young up-and-coming players.

As such, the Seahawks may need to explore some cheaper options. While this may or may not include the SF 49ers’ veteran cornerback, one at least has to throw in the fact Sherman still lives in the Seattle area during the offseason.

That could be a selling point, too.

What’s undeniable is Sherman’s veteran prowess, which was vital in transforming the Niners defense from a group of relatively inexperienced up-and-comers into one of the league’s best between 2019 and 2020.

That’s essentially what Seattle needs heading into 2021.

Now, the sentiments a would-be free-agent deal between Sherman and the Seahawks might cause among San Francisco fans would be provocative, to say the least. Sure, Sherman is no longer the playmaking corner he once was, but there’s little doubt SF 49ers fans want anything but Sherman finding his way back to Seattle.

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Yet from the Seahawks’ vantage point, there’s some merit to the idea he could go back to being a trusted Niners enemy again.