Richard Sherman contract breakdown: 49ers cornerback says he's likely to depart as 2021 free agent

Written By Billy Heyen
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(Getty Images)

Richard Sherman said he likes playing in San Francisco. Kyle Shanahan said he hopes Sherman will be back in 2021. But football is a numbers game, and Sherman sees the writing on the wall.

“I’ve enjoyed my time,” Sherman told NBCSportsBayArea.com on Saturday. “I’ve loved every moment of it. And I wish we could continue it for a couple more years, but it’s not looking likely.”

The star cornerback is in his third year with the 49ers after a seven-year tenure with the Seahawks. Sherman's contract is due to expire at the end of the 2020 season, and the 32-year-old speculated that he could be looking for work elsewhere. A calf injury kept Sherman from playing from Weeks 2 to 11 this season, meaning he's only suited up in two games entering Week 13's "Monday Night Football."

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According to Spotrac, 37 San Francisco players have their contracts expiring at the end of this season. That list includes other key players such as Solomon Thomas, Jerick McKinnon, Tevin Coleman, Jaquiski Tartt, Kyle Juszczyk, Trent Williams and both backup quarterbacks (Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard). With so many roster spots to fill, the 49ers may not be able to afford keeping Sherman on board.

“We’ve had brief conversations,” Sherman told NBCSports Bay Area. “I think that there’s obviously a want from both sides to come back and make this work. Unfortunately, I don’t know that the circumstances will allow it. That’s the sad, sad truth. It’s one of those years where it’s not from anybody’s fault that it may not work out. And it will be a sad parting because I’ve really enjoyed my time here. I’ve enjoyed this team. I have brothers on this team, and I think we still have work to do. But I don’t know that the circumstances will allow it.”

Richard Sherman contract with 49ers

  • Years (beginning in 2018): 3
  • Total money: $27,150,000
  • Guaranteed money: $7,000,000
  • 2020 base salary: $8,000,000

Sherman signed a three-year contract with the 49ers before the 2018 season. San Francisco and Sherman structured the deal so that his base salary would increase in each of his three seasons in the Bay Area. That meant a $2 million base salary in 2018, followed by $7 million in 2019 and $8 million this season.

Out of the more than $27 million owed to Sherman, he's made about $10 million of it in signing and roster bonuses.

Richard Sherman career earnings

Richard Sherman has earned more than $82 million in his 10-year NFL career playing for the Seahawks and the 49ers. The following year-by-year breakdown is based on Spotrac's contract data for Sherman. 

Year Team Total Earnings
2011 Seahawks $557,424
2012 Seahawks $465,000
2013 Seahawks $555,000
2014 Seahawks $12,431,000
2015 Seahawks $10,014,191
2016 Seahawks $12,569,000
2017 Seahawks $11,431,000
2018 49ers $8,800,000
2019 49ers $12,925,000
2020 49ers $12,987,500

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