Richard Sherman seems like the type to be motivated by slights, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that he was “vengeful” in his decision to join his former team’s division rivals.
And the 29-year-old told The MMQB that the opportunity to play the Seahawks, who he spent the first seven years of his career with, twice a season played a role in his move to the Bay Area.
“Vengeful,” Sherman said. “I love the fan base to death, and I loved playing there. It was such a great opportunity. I helped the organisation get to a great place and stay there. But now it’s like I abandoned them. People are out there burning my jersey. Come on. I’m not the one who let me go. They let me go. I didn’t abandon anybody.”
During his time with the Seahawks, Sherman was arguably the best cornerback in the league and a significant part of the ‘Legion of Boom’ defence.
But faced with the decision to pay Sherman, who is recovering from an Achilles rupture, $11 million for the coming season, Seattle chose to move on.
Sherman also told The MMQB what he was thinking in negotiating his own incentive-laden contract with the 49ers, without the use of an agent.
“I don’t think any agent in the business could have done a better job of negotiating this contract,” Sherman said. “As long as I’m content with what I’m making, nothing else matters to me.
“Once I make a Pro Bowl, $8 million the next year is guaranteed for me. It gives me the ability to control my destiny. The 49ers have skin in the game. I have skin in the game. In my former contract, no matter what I did this year, nothing would be guaranteed to me next year. I couldn’t feel secure in my contract. Now, if I play the way I know I’m capable of playing, I know I’m going to get paid.”
The outspoken Sherman, who has an undergraduate degree from Stanford, has proven to be an intelligent guy.
Whether or not he ends up hitting his incentives, Sherman is putting his faith in himself.
Odell Beckham Jr is in the spotlight again for the wrong reasons, though it doesn’t appear as if he’s in trouble just yet.
The New York Giants wide receiver was seen sitting in a bed with pizza and possibly drugs in a video that surfaced on social media on Friday.
It’s difficult to discern what is going on in the seven-second clip, but along with Beckham, the video shows a woman handling a white powdery substance next to him.
Both the Giants and the NFL have reportedly acknowledged the existence of the video, but have yet to release any comment or hand out any punishment.
Even if Beckham isn’t reprimanded though, the headlines the video has generated are a bad look for the receiver at a time when he’s seeking a lucrative long-term deal.
The Giants picked up the fifth-year option on Beckham’s rookie contract, which will pay him $8.4 million for the coming season, but Beckham is hoping for an extension after ending this past year with a fractured ankle suffered in Week 5.
While he’s been one of the game’s premier playmakers since entering the NFL in 2014 – 288 catches, 4,122 yards and 35 touchdowns in his first three seasons – Beckham has had his fair share of behavioural issues.
That includes multiple violent altercations with cornerback Josh Norman and sideline explosions, which saw him smash a kicking net.
Beckham’s production likely overshadows any such issues, but their accumulation give the Giants something to think about.
The shutdown cornerback will stay in the NFC West after inking a three-year deal with the 49ers worth up to $39 million, with a $5m signing bonus.
While it initially seems like San Francisco overpaid for a 29-year-old recovering from a ruptured Achilles, Sherman’s contract is laden with incentives to cover the 49ers if he doesn’t return to full health or is a shell of himself.
Also, if Sherman — who’s coming off a torn Achilles — makes the Pro Bowl in 2018, my understanding is another $16M in base salary for 2019-20 becomes guaranteed. Creative structure from Paraag Marathe and Sherman’s agent ... Sherman.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 11, 2018
As if Sherman needs more motivation to come back strong, he’ll now have the opportunity to face his former side twice in the regular season. That may have played a significant role in his decision to not meet with any other team after being released by the Seahawks, as could have returning to the Bay Area where he played college football at Stanford.
Seattle decided to move on from Sherman to save $11m, with his release part of a host of changes on the defence that also included trading defensive end Michael Bennett.
While the Seahawks transition to a new era, the 49ers continue to build excitement around their franchise after closing out last season on a promising run with Jimmy Garoppolo.
Sherman will help fill arguably San Francisco’s biggest need with the secondary previously a major question mark.
Last season, the 49ers’ pass defence ranked 24th in the league in yards allowed per attempt with 7.2, 22nd in yards allowed per game with 235 and 24th in passer rating allowed with 93.9.
In Sherman, San Francisco bring in a cornerback who has the most interceptions (32) and passes defended (99) since entering the league in 2011. No player with 300-plus targets has allowed a lower completion percentage (47.4) or passer rating (50.9) over the span either.
When he was healthy, Sherman was essentially a one-man island on the left side of the Seahawks defence, often matching up and shutting down the opposing team’s best receiver on the outside.
His size – 6-foot-3, 195 pounds – allows him to be physical against bigger receivers and win jump-ball situations. So while he’s certainly athletic, Sherman isn’t fully reliant on his speed or quickness, which bodes well for his effectiveness post-Achilles injury.
Even after signing Sherman and extending Garoppolo this offseason, the 49ers have more than $50m in salary cap space to continue adding talent.
Though they’re not a finished product yet, San Francisco are set up to fight for the playoffs when they carry over a five-game winning streak into next season.
While the Los Angeles Rams, who are having an impressive offseason in their own right, will be the team to beat in the division, San Francisco have at least closed the gap between them and Seattle.