49ers will pay Richard Sherman's play-time bonus even though he'll likely fall short

Shalise Manza Young
Yahoo Sports Columnist

Richard Sherman’s gamble on himself continues to pay off.

The 31-year-old cornerback negotiated his own contract with the San Francisco 49ers two years ago, when he was coming off surgeries on both Achilles tendons. Though he’d been incredibly successful with the Seattle Seahawks, his age and those Achilles had many wondering if he’d get back to the level of play he’d shown as a founding member of the Legion of Boom.

But Sherman has become a leader on and off the field for San Francisco, a two-time team captain so respected by team brass that they’re paying him money he technically didn’t earn.

In a San Francisco Chronicle story by Eric Branch, Sherman said that general manager John Lynch had agreed to give Sherman the $1 million play-time bonus he’d get if he played 90 percent of the defensive snaps. With two regular-season games to play, Sherman had played 85.5 percent.

“John and I had a conversation early in the year about that,” Sherman said. “And they … had already given me that incentive. So there’s no incentive for me, in terms of financial, for me to be like, ‘I’ve got to come back to get this amount of money.’ It’s always what’s best for the team.”

Sherman suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain on Dec. 8 against the New Orleans Saints, and he missed last week’s game against Atlanta. The 49ers lost the game, and have lost the three games Sherman has missed since joining the team.

This week, when he was named a Pro Bowler for the fifth time in his career, Sherman earned another $1 million bonus.

He also is San Francisco’s Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee. Last month, he donated $27,000 to clear school lunch debts — over $7,000 for a middle school near Levi’s Stadium, and $20,000 to the school system in Tacoma, Washington.

The San Francisco 49ers will honor one of Richard Sherman's bonuses even though he'll fall short of earning it. (Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

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