A report published Monday says the Seahawks had a right-of-first refusal on any contract offered Richard Sherman, and that Seattle declined to match the deal he got from the 49ers.
Well here’s a twist in the Richard-Sherman-to-the-49ers saga.
According to an account of the negotiations published Monday on Monday Morning Quarterback on SI.com, the Seahawks declined a chance to match the contract offer Sherman received from the 49ers, with general manager John Schneider saying the incentives were “a little too rich for me.”
Sherman received a three-year, $39 million contract that he negotiated himself as his own agent that includes heavy incentives for being on the roster, playing time and making the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams.
Sherman confirmed the report during a conference call with Bay Area reporters later meeting.
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“They (Seahawks) said they wouldn’t be able to match that and he (Schneider) thought it was a solid deal,” Sherman said. “He thought there was some things I could do with roster bonuses. But I felt comfortable with being able to achieve that.”
The story (published on a website for which Sherman wrote for a few years during his Seahawks career) reveals that after hammering out the basic details of the contract during a four-hour meeting on Saturday afternoon, Sherman called the Raiders and Lions — two other teams he had expected to visit after being released by the Seahawks on Friday — as well as the Seahawks.
As the story, written by Peter King, says:
Late in the process, when Sherman and the Niners agreed on most of the incentives in the deal, he got back to the three most interested teams. Seattle, interestingly enough, wanted the first right of refusal on any offer, and so Sherman called Seahawks GM John Schneider. Sherman said Schneider told him, “Incentives [are] a little rich for me.” Sherman called Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie, who said he wasn’t going to have the cap money to compete for him. And Sherman called Detroit coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn; incentive package too rich for Detroit’s blood.
The story also quotes 49ers general manager John Lynch as saying he thought his team offered something the others couldn’t — a chance to play the Seahawks twice a year.
When that was relayed to Sherman, he paused for a second.
Sherman said: “I’m vengeful in that way.”
That’s what it sounded like. But I wanted to make sure. I asked him to repeat that.
“Vengeful,” Sherman said. “I love the fan base to death, and I loved playing there. It was such a great opportunity. I helped the organization get to a great place and stay there. But now it’s like I abandoned them. People are out there burning my jersey. Come on. I’m not the one who let me go. They let me go. I didn’t abandon anybody.”
The contract that the Seahawks decided not to match looks a little different than was originally reported, as Pro Football Talk revealed Sunday night.
Instead of a $5 million signing bonus, as originally reported, the bonus — the only money Sherman was guaranteed at signing — is $3 million, with another $2 million in a bonus for being on the roster the first day of training camp if he passes a physical. That seems likely, assuming Sherman has been correct in saying he thinks he’ll be fully healed by the summer. Still, it’s a hedge for the 49ers as Sherman continues recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered Nov. 9 at Arizona.
And some of the incentives initially reported as being tied solely to the Pro Bowl are instead tied to making the All-Pro team, a much tougher task — $1 million for making it to the Pro Bowl and $2 million for making the All-Pro team.
Sherman also gets, as previously reported, a base salary of $2 million, gets $1 million if he takes part in 90 percent of the 49ers’ defensive snaps, and $2 million total if he is on the 46-man roster bonus each week (or, $125,000 for every game he is on the 46-man roster).
If Sherman meets all the incentives then he can make $13 million in 2018. But theoretically Sherman could make as little as $3 million if he has a setback with the Achilles, though as long as he makes it back and plays 90 percent of the 49ers’ snaps in 2018 then he would make $10 million (the signing bonus, salary, roster bonuses and playtime incentive). He had been due to make a simple $11 million base salary for the Seahawks in 2018.
The Seahawks surely know as well as anyone how Sherman’s recovery is going and may well have viewed it as likely being at least a $10 million deal, assuming he gets and stays healthy.
While it’s unknown exactly the paycut Seattle wanted Sherman to take, it’s surely less than $10 million for the 2018 season.
As PFT also noted “Making the Pro Bowl in 2018 makes the 2019 salary of $8 million guaranteed for injury as of the third day of the league year. It becomes fully guaranteed on April 1, 2019. (In other words, the 49ers can cut Sherman after the 2018 season even if he’s injured during the 2018 season; the injury protection doesn’t kick in until the middle of March.)”
The contract includes a similar scenario for the 2020 season (with a base salary of $8 million if he has made the Pro Bowl in 2019 and that becomes guaranteed on the third day of the league year and fully guaranteed on April 1).
That may also have been something the Seahawks wanted to avoid, undoubtedly preferring to negotiate their own longer-term deal with Sherman than merely matching what he had agreed to with the 49ers.
Sherman also told Bay Area reporters Monday that when the 49ers play the Seahawks in 2018 “I’m going to try my best to ruin their day.”
He also took to Twitter to deliver a message to Seahawks fans, telling them that instead of being upset with him they should be mad at the team’s management “who forced me to go.”