Report: Richard Sherman struck 'vengeful' deal with 49ers

Newly minted San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman represented himself in his negotiations with the team, and per a new report from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, the former Seahawk did about as well as could be expected. Good news for him and for San Francisco; bad news for agents.

Just 28 hours after Seattle released the All-Pro cornerback, he was sitting in the offices of 49ers general manager John Lynch, hammering out the details of a complex three-year deal … and doing so by himself, without additional representation. Oh, and there was the added benefit of playing Seattle twice a year; as Sherman noted, “I’m vengeful in that way.”

Sherman put in the time to compare his own situation realistically with those of other aging stars. “I spent maybe 10, 12 hours reading all these contracts and studying the contract language,” Sherman told King. “If I was going to represent myself, I was going to do the research.”

The result: Sherman and the 49ers negotiated a heavily incentivized deal, but one which gives the almost-30-year-old Sherman a chance to match the $11 million he made in Seattle. If he plays 90 percent of San Francisco’s snaps and gets selected to the Pro Bowl—no sure thing, obviously, but achievable—the big numbers are waiting.

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Richard Sherman through his career
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Richard Sherman through his career
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 24: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks argues a penalty during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Seahawks 33-27. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
RENTON, WA- CIRCA 2011: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks poses for his NFL headshot circa 2011 in Renton, Washington. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 18: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks points while at the line of scrimmage during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 18, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Seahawks 24-0. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 12: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks discusses a call with field judge Jim quirk during a game against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field December 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. Seattle won 33-13. (Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 25: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks looks on during a NFL game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA. - DECEMBER 23: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates a tackle during the fourth quarter of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on December 23, 2012 in Seattle,Wa. The Seahawks won the game 42-13. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 13: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks gestures to the crowd against the Atlanta Falcons during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Georgia Dome on January 13, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons defeated the Seahawks 30-28. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 28: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks returns an interception against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on October 28, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 08: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks shows emotion during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on December 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JANUARY 19: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks tips the ball up in the air as outside linebacker Malcolm Smith #53 catches it to clinch the victory for the Seahawks against the San Francisco 49ers during the 2014 NFC Championship at CenturyLink Field on January 19, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
JERSEY CITY, NJ - JANUARY 26: Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks addresses the media at the Westin Hotel on January 26, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - FEBRUARY 02: cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks talks with teammate cornerback Walter Thurmond #28 during Super Bowl XLVIII against the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Seattle Seahawks won 43-8. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: NFL player Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks accepts the Best Breakthrough Athlete award onstage during the 2014 ESPYS at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 04: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks lines up on defense against the Green Bay Packers at CenturyLink Field on September 4, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 26: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates after the game against the Carolina Panthers on October 26, 2014 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
CHANDLER, AZ - JANUARY 29: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks speaks during a Super Bowl XLIX media availability at the Arizona Grand Hotel on January 29, 2015 in Chandler, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 21: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks warms up prior to the start of the preaseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on August 21, 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 20: Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks (R) poses for a photo with a fan in celebration of American Express Blue Friday with Card Members at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room on November 20, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for American Express)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 6: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks signs autographs for fans after a win of the game against the Minnesota Vikings on December 6, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Seahawks defeated the Vikings 38-7. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
January 27 2016: Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman poses for a photo inside a helicopter during the Pro Bowl Draft at Wheeler Army Base on Oahu, HI. (Photo by Aric Becker/Icon Sportswire) (Photo by Aric Becker/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 30: Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman (L) challenges Hike the Gamer (R) in Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 with Typical Gamer (C) on April 30, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for Activision)
SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 11: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks against the Miami Dolphins at CenturyLink Field on September 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 30: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts during a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 30, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 15: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks almost intercepts a pass by the Los Angeles Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 15, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 29: Richard Sherman #25 of the NFC warms up prior to the NFL Pro Bowl at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on January 29, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 24: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks argues a penalty during a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 24, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Seahawks 33-27. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 1: Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts on the sidelines in the third quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at CenturyLink Field on October 1, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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“This is how much Richard studied this,” the 49ers’ Paraag Marathe told King. “We had a clause in a bunch of our contracts saying players got an incentive for making the Pro Bowl, even if they were medically excused from playing in the Pro Bowl. Richard said, ‘What if I’m voted to the Pro Bowl and I can’t go because we’re in the Super Bowl?’ We thought, He’s right. Great observation. We changed the wording.”

Lynch told King that the lack of a buffer between team and player made for a different environment. Teams will point to a player’s negatives when negotiating, though often not with the player actually in the room. “Sometimes contract offers sting the player,” Lynch said. “We said to him, ‘There are some realities here where you’re going to have to give.’ And he got it.”

This was a matter of hours; the 49ers had been prepared to trade for Denver’s Aqib Talib, but that fell through. And while Sherman was listening to offers from other teams, he knew it was likely now or never to get the deal he wanted from San Francisco. And so the guy who kept the 49ers out of the Super Bowl four years ago now hopes to help them return … along with one other incentive.

“We had something no other team could offer,” Lynch said. “The ability to play Seattle twice a year.”

The full tick-tock rundown is worth a read. And Sherman’s future in San Francisco will be one to watch.

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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