Richard Sherman has a contract that’s worth about $9 million per season. Sherman is set to make his second Super Bowl appearance Sunday afternoon. He signed a three-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers prior to the 2018 season. The deal puts his salary in line with that of other National Football League cornerbacks. But at the same time, he’s not the highest-paid NFL cornerback (that honor goes to the Dolphins’ Xavien Howard, whose contract brings him $15.1 million per season). In fact, he’s not even in the top 10 highest-paid NFL cornerbacks.
Sherman’s contract is, like that of a lot of NFL contracts, a bit more complicated than what the raw numbers reveal.
Sherman’s Contract Is Worth $9 Million Per Year On Average
According to Spotrac, Sherman’s contract is somewhat complex.
When he signed on with the 49ers, Sherman penned a three-year deal that would pay him $27.15 million, which included a signing bonus of $3 million. Prorated over the three years of his deal, that works out to a signing bonus of about $1 million per year.
As the NFL explains on its contract glossary, the prorating allows the 49ers to schedule Sherman’s money in a way that doesn’t exceed the salary cap. However, most signing bonuses are fully paid out to the player within 12 to 18 months of signing the contract.
His base salary was $2 million in 2018, $7 million in 2019, and will be worth $8 million in 2020.
In addition to his prorated signing bonus for each of the three years on his contract, he also gets a roster bonus each year. His 2018 roster bonus was $3.75 million, and 2019 it was $1.875 million. In 2020, it will be $937,500.
A roster bonus is, essentially, a check paid to the player at a certain date in the season, which can be used as leverage in trade negotiations.
Further, Sherman’s contract includes a workout bonus of $50,000 for each year of his contract.
A workout bonus is a check paid to a player for making a certain percentage of offseason workouts.
Sherman’s contract also includes a miscellaneous bonus of $4 million for 2019, and again for 2020. Similarly, he’s been paid various bonuses here and there over the course of his 49ers contract, including for making a certain percentage of snaps and for making the Pro Bowl.
Sherman Joined The 49ers Prior To The 2018 Season
Following a standout college career with the Stanford Cardinals, Sherman joined the Seattle Seahawks after being drafted in the fifth round, the 154th pick overall. Despite being drafted in the later rounds, he went on to exceed all expectations as a Seahawk. With both the Seahawks, and later, the 49ers, Sherman has accumulated the most interceptions and most defended passes of any active player in the NFL.
Only $7 Million Of Sherman’s Contract Is Guaranteed
Some NFL agreements guarantee every penny of a player’s contract, but that is not the case with Sherman. Indeed, over the course of his three-year-contract, only $7 million is guaranteed.
What’s more, his base pay is subject to forfeiture should he be suspended.
A suspended player forfeits 1/17th of their base salary for every game they miss. So if Sherman were to be suspended for one game in the 2020 season, he’d forfeit $470,588.
Following the 2020 season, Sherman will be a free agent. He will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2021 season.