The 49ers losing Jason Verrett to a serious knee injury prompts thoughts of a Richard Sherman reunion, but that free-agent move is out the door now.
One of the things the Niners won’t be able to fix, however, is the injury situation for one of their star cornerbacks, Jason Verrett, who came out of the game in the fourth quarter after suffering what’s believed to be a torn ACL.
If so, devastating. Verrett has dealt with so many injuries over his career, and his 2020 campaign was hopefully a sign of better days to come, both in terms of staying healthy and being a massive component to San Francisco’s defense.
The lack of cornerback depth was readily apparent after Verrett’s departure, and the Lions made it a priority to target backup corners Dontae Johnson and Ambry Thomas with good levels of success.
And while the 49ers got solid play out of fifth-round rookie Deommodore Lenoir and can bank on fellow corner Emmanuel Moseley eventually returning from a knee injury, there are going to be some massive concerns about this position moving forward without Verrett.
Kyle Shanahan hints 49ers may pursue Richard Sherman
In his postgame press conference to reporters, head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked whether or not veteran free-agent cornerback Richard Sherman would possibly be in play for a would-be reunion with the Niners.
“We’ve discussed it,” Shanahan said. “I’ve talked to Sherman about it, too. Sherm is always a possibility.”
Hear from head coach Kyle Shanahan and other members of the 49ers as they speak to the media following the team's Week 1 Win at Ford Field.
Posted by San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, September 12, 2021
Sherman, who spent 2018 through 2020 with San Francisco, remains a free agent. And his chances of re-signing with the team arguably took a bit of a hit following an offseason arrest, the legal outcomes of which are yet to be determined.
Yet that might not be the reason why the 49ers should steer clear from Sherman at this point.
49ers have Josh Norman, should play younger corners now
The Niners could feasibly fill Verrett’s roster spot with Sherman, and that has some merit. But as far as veterans present on the roster, the recently signed Josh Norman essentially negates the need to add an older cornerback on the tail end of his career.
Norman, 33 years old and signed just before the regular season began, was inactive for Week 1 as he looks to acclimate to San Francisco’s defense.
Now, the 49ers will need Norman sooner than they likely anticipated.
It might be dangerous to have two veteran cornerbacks on the field at the same time, especially with Sherman also needing to get up to speed after not spending the offseason with any program.
Even though it might become something of an early liability, giving additional reps to younger players like Lenoir and Thomas should be the bigger focal point. Particularly with Thomas, this year’s third-round NFL Draft pick, there will be some growing pains. But given the Niners’ investment in him, it’s worthy to keep him as high on the depth chart as possible.
Unless Sherman is willing to sign on as a back-end-of-the-roster player, and it’s understandable if he’s not looking for that at this point in his career.