The devil is in the details. On Saturday when it was reported Richard Sherman is signing with the San Francisco 49ers on a three-year deal worth around $39 million many gasped. After all, we’re talking about a guy who is coming off an Achilles injury, who suffered a knee injury in 2016 and who’s about to hit the dreaded 30-year-old mark.
However, new reports about the Richard Sherman contract have emerged which show the 49ers really did protect themselves. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network shared these details Saturday evening, and it’s clear Sherman is banking on himself, rather than San Francisco taking a careless risk.
Richard Sherman’s deal includes a $5M signing bonus, plus $2M base salary, $2M in 46-man roster bonuses, $1M playtime incentive and $3M Pro Bowl incentive in 2018. So #49ers get protection, and Sherman gets upside to beat his #Seahawks deal if he plays well. Win-win.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 11, 2018
Essentially, Sherman’s base value for the 2018 NFL season is $9 million, but he can earn up to $13 million. Additionally, Pelissero reports that Sherman can really benefit from having a Pro Bowl season in 2018, which would trigger his base salary of $16 million in 2019-20 being guaranteed.
On top of that, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports his sources as saying that Pro Bowl distinction could actually be an “All-Pro” distinction, which would be even harder to achieve. Florio also notes that the reported three-year, $39.15 million contract number is “a mirage.”
So, either the 49ers end up paying market price for a top-tier cornerback, or they’re protected from over-paying a guy who may be out of his prime and/or ineffective due to injury.