Richard Sherman was adamant he would not re-sign with the 49ers in December.
Now the former All-Pro is changing his tune. As the weeks have gone by, Sherman has softened those comments back in December and is leaving the door open for a return with the 49ers this season.
“There's always a chance it could end up working back in the Bay, that I head back that way," Said Sherman on ESPN First Take. "Obviously I know the staff, know the team well. Just spent time there and would be ecstatic if something happened there."
The starting corners for the 49ers right now are Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley, and K'Waun Williams. If Sherman is brought back, would he be willing to be a rotational corner? Or will the 49ers start him over Moseley? The 49ers really need to start rolling out younger talent to allow them to develop.
So should the 49ers bring back Sherman?
Right now, no.
Bringing Sherman in now would indicate that he is the starter. And to be quite frank, I do not believe he is starting caliber anymore, at least not as a corner. Ideally, having Sherman as depth would be a sweet deal, but I sincerely doubt he would be okay with that after being the starter for the last few seasons. I also don't think Kyle Shanahan would allow him to be a non-starter either.
Signing Sherman would be best if the 49ers sustain an injury to a cornerback or two, or even a safety, leading up to the season. The 49ers likely can afford to avoid signing Sherman right now because no one else has seriously pursued him. Sherman has mentioned the Seahawks, Raiders, and Saints as potential landing spots, but Sherman himself admitted the Saints likely do not need him. The Raiders also just signed Casey Hayward, so Sherman is likely out of their plans to.
Only Seattle looks to be the alternative if the 49ers stand pat. Signing Sherman would be a double-edged sword for the 49ers. The self-inflicting part is that he is no longer the elite corner he once was. That much became evident when he returned from a calf injury, which is why Robert Saleh started incorporating him as a safety. He just can't run anymore. It doesn't matter what coverage or the scheme is for the 49ers.
The part where Sherman benefits the 49ers is his leadership and knowledge. Sherman can be a great player to rally behind after Fred Warner. His knowledge to all the young corners like Deommodore Lenoir and Ambry Thomas could serve as a way to expedite their development. The tipping point here is whether or not the 49ers believe Sherman can be a sufficient starter, along with concerns of his health.
I do not believe signing Sherman now is wise only because he is assuredly going to start. The 49ers have flipped the page on Jimmy Garoppolo because he is injury prone. Sherman is looking more and more injury prone now to go with his decline in performance.
Start Moseley and groom the young corners to set a core for the foreseeable future is the ideal method.