As many players arrive for mandatory OTAs, free-agent cornerback Richard Sherman is training on his own in preparation for the 2021 NFL season. While he doesn’t have a team yet, it might not be too long before the future Hall of Famer finds a home.
The 33-year-old cornerback dealt with injuries in 2020, but has made a full recovery and is generating plenty of interest across the league. While he didn’t play at an elite level this past season, clubs in desperate need of help in the secondary recognize what he can do on the field.
It wasn’t that long ago that he was playing at a high level. A member of the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team, Sherman was named second-team All-Pro and earned his fifth Pro Bowl selection in 2019 with the San Francisco 49ers.
Quarterbacks who threw in his direction had just a 46.8 passer rating against him, per Pro Football Focus, and he allowed just 27 receptions across 552 coverage snaps.
Injuries kept him from replicating that level of play in 2020, but he still held quarterbacks to a 69.6 passer rating and surrendered just eight receptions on 14 targets in coverage.
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Sherman initially hoped to sign with a club early in free agency, but many teams tightened their spending due to the shrinking NFL salary cap. As a result, the veteran cornerback exercised patience and watched how the 2021 NFL Draft played out.
While a few teams filled needs in the secondary, clubs like the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and New Orleans Saints would benefit from upgrades at cornerback. Sherman is very aware of what teams are interested in him and has an idea for what he wants the next stage in his legendary career to be.
SportsNet New York’s Ralph Vacchiano provided some insight on Sherman. While the veteran corner loves coach Robert Saleh, other factors might lead to him signing elsewhere.
“But at this stage of his career, many around the NFL believe Sherman is much more likely to wait out training camp and hope to sign on to a contender.”SportsNet New York Ralph Vacchiano on Richard Sherman
If Sherman wants to compete for a Super Bowl, the Seahawks and 49ers stand out as the best fits. Both clubs offer him familiarity and would be more than willing to have him show up later in the summer.
Ultimately, a decision might come down to the two NFC West rivals. Given both teams are projected to make the NFL Playoffs this season, Sherman’s signing could dictate who makes it further.