Richard Sherman

NFC Notes: Gordon, Sherman, Cardinals, Packers

This week, embattled receiver Josh Gordon earned the fifth suspension of his career, as he was banned from the league for violating the league’s policies on performance-enhancing substances and substances of abuse. Naturally, some have questioned if the 28-year-old’s NFL career has come to an end.

Russell Wilson got to know Gordon during his brief stint in Seattle, and the Seahawks quarterback is confident that the receiver will see the field again.

“I got pretty close with Josh,” Wilson said (via Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com). “You’re going to miss him obviously as a player, but more importantly as a friend and as a guy you bonded with pretty quickly. We’ve been staying in touch and all that. I just pray for him. I really believe that prayer works. I really believe that relationships and friendships work in supporting no matter what we go through. We all have stuff. We all have things that we go through. I’m just praying for him and rooting for him. He’ll overcome. He’s going to overcome, and I really believe that. Hopefully, he’ll get another chance to play with us because he was fun to play with.”

Since joining the Seahawks in early November, Gordon caught just seven passes for 139 yards and zero touchdowns. It’s a far cry from his best work, including a 2014 season in which he had 87 receptions for 1,646 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games with the Browns.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…

  • Richard Sherman has added incentive to return to the field tonight for the 49ers matchup against the Rams. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that the veteran cornerback can earn an extra $1MM if he plays 90-percent of his team’s stats this season. Sherman is currently sitting at 85.7-percent heading into tonight’s game. The veteran missed the 49ers’ Week 15 loss to the Falcons with a hamstring injury.
  • Thanks to a six-game suspension for Patrick Peterson and an injury for Robert Alford, the Cardinals have been forced to play rookie cornerback Byron Murphy on the outside. Next season, the team is hoping Murphy can slide back to the position that the organization envisioned for him: slot corner. “We’d like to,” coach Kliff Kingsbury told Katherine Fitzgerald of AZCentral.com. “To me, it’s been tough, him having to play corner and play half the season going against their best wideouts, that’s a tall task for him. We drafted him to be that nickel-type body.”
  • Defensive coordinator Vance Joseph echoed that sentiment. “His role was going to be the third corner, as a nickle,” Joseph said. “And that’s a starting position. So it’s not a position where it’s not a spot that we don’t covet. It’s a real position, and it really fits Murph’s skill set. … If he can be a top-rate nickle for us, that’s gonna help us win.” The second-round pick out of Washington has 69 tackles and eight passes defended this season.
  • Packers rookie linebacker Greg Roberts returned to practice yesterday, tweets ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. The undrafted rookie had been on PUP all season as he recovered from core muscle surgery. Meanwhile, Jim Owczarski of the Journal Sentinel tweets that Packers safety Raven Greene was also seen working out earlier this week. The defensive back has been on injured reserve since Week 2, and he’s been out of his walking boot for several weeks.

NFC West Notes: Watson, Penny, 49ers

Current Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians, who enjoyed a strong run as the Cardinals‘ HC from 2013-17, nearly brought one of the league’s best quarterbacks to the desert prior to his final year in Arizona. Deshaun Watson was selected by the Texans with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2017 draft, and the Cardinals held the No. 13 overall pick that year. As Patrick D. Starr of SI.com writes, Arians was poised to nab Watson if he slipped one more spot.

It’s unclear whether the Cardinals tried to trade up to select Watson, but they ultimately took linebacker Haason Reddick with their choice. Of course, Arizona seems to have found its QB of the future in Kyler Murray. and who knows how things may have turned out if Watson ended up with the Cards, but it’s always fun to play the butterfly effect game when reports like this surface.

Now for more from the NFC West:

  • Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny is undergoing ACL surgery Friday morning, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. We recently heard that, in addition to an ACL tear, Penny may have sustained additional knee damage, but Schefter says the 2018 first-rounder is expected to be ready to go for the 2020 season.
  • The 49ers have sustained a number of injuries lately, but they will have CB Richard Sherman back this week. Though recent reports indicated that Sherman may not be back until the playoffs, Matt Barrows of The Athletic says the three-time First Team All-Pro will play in San Francisco’s matchup against the Rams on Saturday night (Twitter link). The Niners, of course, are trying to get back into one of the NFC’s top two seeds after a bad loss to the Falcons on Sunday dropped them to the fifth seed.
  • Speaking of Sherman, Field Yates of ESPN.com points out that the 31-year-old earned a league-high $1MM incentive by being named to this year’s Pro Bowl on the original ballot, and he also increased his 2020 base salary by $1MM (Twitter link). Sherman is currently under contract with the 49ers through the 2020 season.
  • 49ers LB Kwon Alexander, who was ruled out for the season in November with a torn pec, does have a chance to return at some point in the postseason, as Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. However, head coach Kyle Shanahan conceded that the odds of that happening are slim, and it seems much more likely that the team will have to wait until next year to see Alexander back in action.

49ers CB Richard Sherman Out Until Playoffs?

When it rains, it pours. We’ve already passed along several 49ers injury updates today, and the bad news continue. Coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that cornerback Richard Sherman will be out a few weeks as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

[RELATED: Dee Ford To Miss Time]

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport adds some more context (via Twitter), noting that the Grade-2 hamstring injury could sideline the veteran defensive back until the playoffs. Rapoport notes that Sherman will try to play again during the regular season, but the team is expected to be cautious with the 31-year-old.

Following an underwhelming first season in San Francisco, Sherman has bounced back in 2019. He’s compiled 53 tackles, 11 passes defense, and three interceptions (including one pick-six) in 13 games (13 starts). Sherman is in the second year of a three-year, $39MM deal he signed with San Francisco back in 2018.

It hasn’t been a great day on the 49ers’ injury front. We learned this morning that center Weston Richburg is done for the year thanks to a torn patella tendon. Shanahan later told reporters that edge rusher Dee Ford would miss at least three weeks with a hamstring strain.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Notes: Garoppolo, Brown, Sherman

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be ready for OTAs, as Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports writes.

Everyone says they are ahead of schedule,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And he is. I mean he’s been healing great. He hasn’t had knee trouble before. It was a clean ACL, so it’s been real good for him.”

As a QB, Garoppolo should be able to participate in OTA drills, but the risk factor is higher for teammate Jerick McKinnon. The running back, Shanahan says, is unlikely to be involved in the 7-on-7 scrimmages.

He’s also a quarterback, so when we get to OTAs, it will be 7-on-7s, so we don’t have to worry about people falling at his knees,” Shanahan said. “So Jimmy will be able to practice a lot more than someone like Jet, who we have to be a little safer with, even though they might be at the same spot. We don’t want people to be falling into their legs, and that’s easier to control at quarterback than running back.”

Here’s more from San Francisco:

  • The 49ers haven’t reached out to the Steelers about wide receiver Antonio Brown, but that doesn’t mean they won’t, Shanahan says. “We’re in the market for anything that makes our team better at every single position,” Shanahan said (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle).
  • 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman says he’s had talks with the team and that both sides would like to continue together in 2019 (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Josina Anderson). Sherman signed a three-year deal with SF in March of 2018, but his ’19 salary is not guaranteed. As it stands, he’s scheduled to carry a $9.8MM cap figure this season.
  • No surprise here, but former first-round pick Arik Armstead will be back with the team in 2019. “We’re not into losing good players, and he has played very well for us,” Shanahan said of the defensive lineman (via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports). “I think he can take it to a whole ‘nother level and I hope to see him do that this year. If he does, that will be very good for the Niners and very good for him because he’s got the ability to do it. He’s already done some very good things for us in these two years. Hopefully, this year he can stay healthier. Hopefully, the addition of changing our style a little on the D-line will help him. And I expect him to get better.” One year ago, the Niners picked up the non-binding fifth-year option on Armstead’s contract. In two weeks, he’ll have his $9.046MM salary guaranteed for 2019.

Extra Points: Sherman, Bortles, Lincoln Riley, Ravens

It won’t be this year or the next, but at some point before he calls it quits on a likely Hall of Fame career, cornerback Richard Sherman is likely to make the move to safety, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch writes.

The four-time First Team All-Pro selection is open to it at least, saying:

“It’s definitely something that I’ve looked at,” Sherman said. “And something that I’ve talked with (Charles Woodson) about.”

In the first of a three-year deal with the 49ers, Sherman still rates as an above average cornerback according to Pro Football Focus. Now in his 30s, however, the star defender is already looking to make a similar move that prolonged the careers of Charles Woodson, Rod Woodson and Aeneas Williams. Despite the move, don’t expect him to play into his late 30s.

“I think 35 is probably my cutoff,” Sherman said. “I don’t think I want to play … they’d have a hard time getting me out of bed at 35 to go play. I think I’ve got four or five more (years) in me.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • After his benching, Blake Bortles is unlikely to be back with the Jaguars next season, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio writes. With $6.5MM of Bortles’ $16.5MM contract next season guaranteed, the Jaguars can hope that some team signs him for $6.5MM — unlikely — or package him in a trade with a team that would be considering signing him, a la Brock Osweiler. The Jaguars will still have a cap charge of $10MM, but the team can push $5MM of that into 2020.
  • The Ravens did not activate cornerback Jaylen Hill from the PUP list, officially ending his season. Recovering from a torn ACL and MCL, Hill was unlikely to take the field after recently suffering a setback.
  • With the college game becoming more intertwined with the professional ranks, Pete Thamel of Yahoo! Sports listed 10 college coaches who could make the jump to the NFL. To no one’s surprise, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley was at the top of the heap thanks to his high-powered offense that produced a Heisman Trophy winner in Baker Mayfield, and potentially another in Kyler Murray. Other notable names on the list include Stanford’s David Shaw, former 49ers coach and current Michigan man Jim Harbaugh and Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald.

Injury Updates: Ansah, Lions, Sherman, 49ers, Michel, Patriots, Barr, Vikings

Ezekiel Ansah has missed almost the entire season with a mysterious shoulder injury. He played in the Lions’ opener against the Jets, and notched four tackles and a sack, but hasn’t played since. Detroit has been mum on what exactly is ailing Ansah, and he’s appeared close to returning a few times recently but has never suited up. He’s practice on a limited basis the past couple of weeks, but still hasn’t been ready.

This week might be different, as Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets that Ansah “did more in practice Friday than I’ve seen him in recent weeks.” It seems like Ansah is ramping up his activity and has a very good chance to return tomorrow against the Seahawks. Ansah, who’s playing on a franchise tag, would provide a big boost to a suddenly resurgent Lions defense.

Here’s more on some big injuries from around the league:

  • Richard Sherman appears on track to return for the 49ers tomorrow against the Cardinals after a two game absence, but might have to miss Week 9 because of it. Sherman told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle that he’s going to attempt to play through the injury, but might be too sore to play on short-rest in Week 9. The 49ers play on Thursday Night Football, and it doesn’t sound like Sherman thinks he’ll be able to play two games in four days.
  • The Patriots have been typically tight-lipped about Sony Michel‘s injury, but the recent word is that it isn’t too serious. That being said, Michel has been downgraded to doubtful for the team’s Monday night game against the Bills, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (Twitter link). If it’s true that it’s relatively minor, Michel should be able to return in Week 9.
  • The Vikings’ defense has already been pretty banged up, and they got even more bad news recently. Linebacker Anthony Barr has been ruled out, which will end his streak of 44 consecutive games started for the Vikings, according to Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The Vikings will be considerably short-handed for their game against the Saints, and Barr’s absence will surely be felt over the middle.

NFC West Rumors: Rams, 49ers, Thomas

Despite the Rams‘ dominance through four games, they haven’t deployed much in the way of name talent at linebacker. They traded Alec Ogletree to the Giants and shipped Robert Quinn to the Dolphins. Los Angeles is in line to have its top current ‘backer back in Week 5, however. Sean McVay expects Barron to make his season debut against the Seahawks after missing the first four games due to a lingering Achilles injury that caused him to miss all of Los Angeles’ offseason program.

We’ve kind of got a plan in place where we’re anticipating him being able to go. And that’s subject to change based on how he responds. But he’s feeling good up to this point,” McVay said, via Myles Simmons of TheRams.com. “We’re hopeful to be able to get him back and if that’s the case we’ll be excited to get Mark out there.”

Barron started 44 games for the Rams the past four seasons and is in the third season of a five-year, $45MM contract. The Rams have started Cory Littleton and Ramik Wilson at inside linebacker this season.

Here’s the latest from this division, one that features a clear-cut favorite at the quarter pole.

  • Although McVay said earlier this week Greg Zuerlein had a chance to return Sunday, that probably remains at least a week away. The second-year Rams coach said the signing of Cairo Santos likely indicates Zuerlein is still a bit way from resuming his season. He’s been sidelined since Week 2 warmups after sustaining a groin injury.
  • Richard Sherman‘s per-game bonus-laden contract makes it critical he stay on the field as much as possible, and the veteran cornerback has a chance to play this week. The 49ers defender participated in a limited practice on Thursday and would be in line to start upon returning. However, not much else is known about the 49ers’ corner situation, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward and Greg Mabin could continue a rotation on the outside, Robert Saleh said, adding this is a product of Mabin’s progress rather than the coaching staff having issues with Ward or Witherspoon’s play.
  • Don’t look for D.J. Reed to usurp the rehabbing Adrian Colbert. Kyle Shanahan confirmed, via Maiocco, the original San Francisco free safety starter will get his job back once he returns from a hip contusion. Shanahan would be “surprised” if Colbert isn’t ready to return this week. The second-year player did not start last week but got in two full practices this week.
  • The Seahawks could franchise Earl Thomas for $12.48MM, but the three-time All-Pro could well hit the market. If he’s not franchised, it’s incredibly hard to envision Thomas back with the Seahawks. And if he is, another long holdout almost certainly commences. Despite having a broken leg end his season, Thomas may see a robust market come March, with Joel Corry of CBS Sports citing big deals given to Allen Robinson (coming off an ACL tear) and Matt Kalil (off a hip injury) as why Thomas can be expected to be a coveted commodity. Thomas has already surmounted a significant leg injury; he returned from that season-ending malady to be a 2017 Pro Bowler. He should have immense incentive to get cleared by the time free agency opens.

49ers’ Richard Sherman To Miss Time

49ers cornerback Richard Sherman will miss a few weeks with a mild calf strain, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. It’s not ideal, but after a weekend of serious injuries in the NFL, it’s certainly not the worst news that the Niners could have received. 

Sherman, 30, joined the Niners on a three-year, $21.15MM deal this offseason. The veteran can earn another $18MM by way of per-game roster bonuses, playing-time incentives, and other sweeteners, but his injury will hinder his earning potential in 2018.

Sherman has yet to record an interception for his new club, but he has been one of the ten best corners in the NFL thus far, according to Pro Football Focus. Before his injury on Sunday, Sherman looked sharp as he made some big plays, including a touchdown-saving pass breakup while guarding Chiefs speedster Tyreek Hill.

Without Sherman, it’s likely that Ahkello Witherspoon and Jimmie Ward will be used as the club’s starting outside cornerbacks with K’Waun Williams remaining in the slot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: 49ers, Sherman, Rams, Broncos

After passing his physical with the 49ers, cornerback Richard Sherman collected a $2MM bonus, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Not only did Sherman earn some extra cash, but he won’t have to begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list, a good sign after his 2017 campaign ended thanks to a torn Achilles. Sherman, 30, signed a three-year deal with San Francisco earlier this year, but the pact contained just $3MM in full guarantees. Sherman has now picked up an extra $2MM, and if he earns a spot on the 49ers’ roster (as fully expected), he’ll rake in a base salary of $2MM.

Here’s more on the NFL’s two West divisions:

  • Free agent receiver Dez Bryant has been linked — often by his own statements — to the 49ers this offseason, but general manager John Lynch today downplayed any interest his club might have in the pass-catching market. “We’re always looking to improve our team, but we’ve been pretty steadfast,” Lynch said, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). “We like our receiver corps.” Bryant, for his part, said on Instagram that he’d like to play for the 49ers, while Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report indicated many league insiders believe Bryant will end up in San Francisco. The 49ers’ wideout depth chart is comprised of Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, second-round rookie Dante Pettis, and Trent Taylor, so they may not have room for Bryant, who is being considered by the Browns.
  • Todd Gurley‘s new four-year extension with the Rams has a base value of $57.5MM, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has provided the remaining details of the pact. Gurley received a $21MM signing bonus and will have $26.95MM fully guaranteed at signing, but his practical guarantees are much greater than that. Unless Gurley is cut after the 2018 campaign, he’ll bring in $34.5MM by the third day of the 2019 league year. As Joel Corry of CBSSports.com tweets, Gurley’s 2018 cap charge actually increased by ~$2.6MM as a result of the extension,
  • The Broncos have placed receivers Carlos Henderson and Jimmy Williams on the reserve/did not report list, per Mike Klis of 9News and Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post (Twitter links). While Henderson is dealing with a personal situation and figures to report eventually, Williams is considering retirement. Denver has already signed Mark Chapman to fill one receiving void, and the club will ink another pass-catcher soon, tweets Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic.

NFC West Rumors: Marshall, 49ers, Sherman

The Seahawks signed Brandon Marshall only two weeks before their minicamp, but they will have to wait until training camp to see how much the 34-year-old wide receiver has left. Due to a hamstring injury, Marshall did not participate in any team drills at the remaining Seattle OTA sessions nor at the team’s minicamp. Marshall was already coming off an injury, with his 2017 season ending early thanks to ankle surgery, but Pete Carroll said the 13th-year pass-catcher should be ready to go by the time the team reconvenes for training camp.

We’re just making sure that we don’t have a setback on a hamstring that’s recovering,” Carroll said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “We talked about it today – he’s got a solid six weeks; he’ll be well. We need to do a really good job as we re-introduce him back into our tempo and speed and all that, that we don’t overdo it early in the excitement to see what he can do and all.”

Marshall only signed for one year and $1.1MM. Although plenty of incentives are included, only $90K of that pact is guaranteed.

Here’s what’s new out of the NFC West on Sunday afternoon.

  • 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said he experienced Achilles issues during his final offseason workouts with the Seahawks, and the problem worsened in last year’s training camp. Once the regular season began, Sherman said he knew this was a significant issue. “We just kind of babied it as long as we could,” Sherman said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But you can’t baby it in a game.” The eighth-year corner did not participate in team drills yet with the 49ers but is expected to in camp.
  • Laken Tomlinson has the left guard spot secured, but the 49ers look to have a three-man competition going for their right guard position. And thus far, 2016 first-round pick Joshua Garnett has seen the most time there, per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. Garnett, who spent all of last season on IR in a partial effort to adjust his body to better suit Kyle Shanahan‘s zone-blocking scheme, split time with the recently signed Mike Person. However, Jonathan Cooper did not participate in San Francisco’s minicamp because of left knee surgery and will be a threat to start opposite Tomlinson this season.
  • Second-year San Francisco slot receiver Trent Taylor is recovering from back surgery, Branch notes. He underwent the procedure several weeks ago to remove bone spurs, per Branch, but Shanahan expects him back by camp.
  • While Josh Rosen is the Cardinals’ quarterback of the future, it doesn’t appear likely he’ll play ahead of Sam Bradford to start this season.