Richard Sherman Linked to Cowboys, Raiders, Jets Ahead of 2021 NFL Free Agency

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2021

San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman (25) defends against the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys, Las Vegas Raiders and New York Jets are among the teams expected to pursue Richard Sherman in free agency.

Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN cited those three teams as possibilities because of Sherman's past relationships with people on the respective coaching staffs. Jets head coach Robert Saleh was Sherman's defensive coordinator in San Francisco the last three seasons, while Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn previously coached Sherman in Seattle.

Sherman is set to be an unrestricted free agent later this month, and it's unlikely he returns to the 49ers. 

"It's been made pretty clear," Sherman said last month of a split with the 49ers, per Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee. "It was a good conversation, nothing crazy. Just a good conversation about where they are and where I am, and their plans. We were both very positive and as good as you can be in a situation like this."

Sherman indicated in December that it would take a "miracle" for him to be back in San Francisco next season. The five-time Pro Bowler is coming off an injury-plagued 2020 that saw him limited to five games. He recorded 18 tackles and one interception.

A second-team All-Pro in 2019, Sherman should have something left in the tank if he's able to stay healthy. Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 67.7 for the 2020 season, which is better than it seems given Sherman's injury-related absences. He was at a prime-level 88.9 a season prior.

All three of the aforementioned teams have holes in the secondary and could use Sherman in schemes he's already familiar with. A level of familiarity plays a large part in post-prime veterans staying effective, so it wouldn't be a surprise if Sherman wound up gravitating to familiar faces on the open market.