Cornerback Richard Sherman has performed well in his first year with the 49ers. But not well enough to qualify for the Pro Bowl. Which comes with a significant financial consequence.
Sherman’s contract with the 49ers carries a $1 million Pro Bowl bonus. Obviously, he won’t get that money unless he makes the NFC Pro Bowl roster. (Per a league source, Sherman also isn’t an alternate.)
If Sherman had made it to the Pro Bowl, he also would have seen his base salary for 2019 increase by $1 million, and his per-game roster bonuses would have dropped from $2 million to $1 million. So Sherman can still make the extra $1 million ($2 million total) by appearing in every game next year.
First, however, he’ll have to be on the 49ers roster in 2019. By not making the Pro Bowl, his base salary for 2019 remains non-guaranteed. Which gives the 49ers’ maximum flexibility to decide whether to keep him, to move on, or to squeeze him to take less in order to remain in San Francisco for one more year.
The best outcome for Sherman, if the 49ers decide to move on, would be to have that decision come early in 2019, allowing him to get back to the open market at a time when most of the money is still available to be spent.
Sherman also has one more incentive that he could earn in 2018: If the Associated Press names Sherman to the first-team All-Pro roster, Sherman will earn $2 million. However, the fact that he wasn’t even a Pro Bowl alternate in the NFC means that even the oft-unpredictable outcome of the AP voting won’t result in Sherman showing up as a first-team All Pro.