San Francisco 49ers: Richard Sherman signing flips NFC West on its head

Not so long ago Sherman was the road block to San Francisco's success, now he will be a part of it


(Photo credit: Mark Samia)

Not so long ago the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers were bitter enemies. The rivalry, fuelled by the intense personalities of Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh, provided three NFC champions and one Super Bowl winner between 2012-2014, as well as several amazingly competitive games.

One of those games, the 2013 NFC championship game, ended with Richard Sherman tipping a ball in the endzone to Malcolm Smith to make a game-ending interception. Now, just days after being released by the Seahawks, Richard Sherman is looking to re-ignite the rivalry.

Signing with the enemy

The Seahawks were in dire straits with the salary cap this season, and had a lot of tough personnel decisions to make. The result of those decisions was to release Sherman to open up some $11 million more in cap space. The team had shopped him around for a few days, looking to recoup a draft pick or two, but had no buyers.

Sherman’s age, turning 30 this year, and his abrasive personality paired with him suffering a difficult-to-assess Achilles injury in 2017, meant there were no buyers. But on the free market one team swooped in quickly. San Francisco.

Just a year ago the 49ers were no where. They had fallen off the face of the earth with the departure of Jim Harbaugh and the retirement/departure of their core players. This year though, with Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo, there is a lot of excitement about how good they could be. Adding a player like Sherman only adds to that excitement.

Sherman played his college football in Stanford, he was born and raised in Compton. The Bay Area is home to him, but for years he was a thorn in the side of his home town. Now he could be a key to tipping the NFC West to San Francisco.

New rivals

The Seahawks are experiencing an identity crisis. They have made their bones with a brilliant defensive core, but that is now being chopped up. If San Francisco really are turning their ship around it won’t be the Seahawks that stand it there way. It will be a similarly young and exciting Rams team that stands between them and the NFC West title.

Sean McVay and Jared Goff have provided the same kind of energy that Shanahan and Garoppolo have. The Rams have added All-Pro corners this offseason, and now so have the 49ers.

Seattle’s days on top have faded, and nothing quite signals that like Richard Sherman wearing red and gold.

2018 will see the Rams try and cling onto their crown. It will see the 49ers roar back to significance. And right now it will see the Seahawks fade into the background.

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.

 

I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.

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