The full slate of teams with genuine interest in cornerback Richard Sherman isn’t known. The Lions, we’re told, were definitely one of them.
Per a league source, the Lions was strongly motivated to pursue Sherman, who signed with the 49ers only one day after being cut by the Seahawks.
It’s unclear whether the Lions would have offered Sherman more than the 49ers offered. Some think Sherman should have taken the visit to Detroit, if only to leverage the 49ers into doing a better deal.
Of course, it’s possible that the 49ers told Sherman that, if he moved on to a Detroit visit, the 49ers would have moved on to another option. It’s a tactic commonly used by teams in the early stages of free agency, and it’s often not a bluff.
Still, the circumstances suggest that Sherman, who is recovering from surgery on both Achilles tendons, opted for a quick bird in the hand from a team that directly competes with the team that cut him. It’s possible, then, that emotion played a role in the decision-making process. Given that Sherman has opted to proceed without an agent, there was no one in a position of real influence and experience who would have been in position to credibly and persuasively get him to let things play out a little more slowly.
Arguably, it could have been better to wait until teams that hope to secure a starting-caliber cornerback in free agency fail to do so. It could have been better to wait until after the dust settles on the draft. It could have been better to do a one-term deal, giving Sherman a chance to re-establish himself and hit the market, possibly at 100 percent health.
Given the speed with which events unfolded, it’s hard to believe that he got the best deal he possibly could have negotiated. Soon, when the full details emerge, the true value of the deal he negotiated with the 49ers will be known.