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  • 06 Aug
    SANTA
    CLARA Duane Brown
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    , Calif. (AP) — Richard Sherman walked into what used to
    be enemy territory at the home of the San Francisco 49ers decked out in a red
    suit to match his new team after switching sides from Seattle in this fierce NFC
    West rivalry.Sherman still must wait a bit to put on a red 49ers jersey, but he
    vows it will be sooner than some people expected considering he is coming off
    surgery on his right Achilles tendon that ended his final season with the
    Seahawks and led to his release earlier this month.Sherman said he is already
    back on the treadmill following that surgery and another operation to repair
    bone spurs in his left heel and hopes to be back on the field by May or June and
    at full speed by the starting of training camp this summer.“There are some
    people that are cut from a different cloth and built from different things and I
    think I’m one of those people,” Sherman said Tuesday. “I look forward to showing
    people that you can come back better from things. … I look forward to coming
    back better than ever. I’ve got a lot of things to show a few people.”Sherman
    showed plenty on the field during his seven years in Seattle, where he developed
    from an overlooked fifth-round pick out of Stanford into the prototypical
    lockdown cornerback who shut down opposing receivers and let them know about it
    with his colorful trash talk.Sherman showed similar skills defending the
    three-year contract he negotiated himself with the 49ers. The deal is worth up
    to $39 million but much of it is tied to incentives for playing time and awards
    and little is guaranteed, according to Pro Football Talk. That led to criticism
    from players like Joe Thomas, former executives like Joe Banner and some in the
    media.Sherman got a $3 million signing bonus, a $2 million salary for 2018 and a
    $2 million bonus if he passes a physical before Nov. 11. The rest of his salary
    is tied to per-game active roster bonuses and rewards for being named to the Pro
    Bowl or All-Pro teams.If he gets those honors and plays at least 90 percent of
    the defensive snaps and all 16 games this season, Sherman could make $13 million
    this year, more than he was due to make with no guaranteed money in the final
    year of his deal with the Seahawks.“The biggest misconception is that it’s a bad
    deal,” he said. “If you’re comparing it to my last deal in Seattle, I had no
    money guaranteed. … I’m coming off a ruptured Achilles, what do I have? What
    security do I have there? With this deal, I get $5 million guaranteed, which is
    half of my other contract. I get the ability to make more than I could have done
    whether I played at an All-Pro level or not in Seattle. And that’s really all
    that I wanted. I play at the level that I’m capable of. I feel security in the
    upcoming years and I felt comfortable with that. I’m great with that.”Sherman
    said it was important to him to negotiate his own deal and he studied other
    cornerback contracts before the 5 hours of negotiations with 49ers cap
    specialist Paraag Marathe and general manager John Lynch.Sherman pointed out
    that many of the contracts negotiated each offseason by certified agents come
    with lofty sticker prices that players never get to see because of few
    guarantees.He said he has already heard from other players interested in doing
    their own deals in the future and expects more to come.“I think these agents
    sometimes benefit from relationships. `Oh, I know this GM. We’ve had dealings
    with for years.’ They really don’t have to do a ton of work. `Hey, I called this
    guy. How much are you willing to give him? Oh, $5 million? OK. I’ll convince him
    that that’s good enough,'” Sherman said. “Instead of guys being able to control
    their own destiny, being in control of their own finances and I think it goes
    back to just educating our players in general on their own finances and being in
    control of your own life. I think more of our players are.” Looking for cap
    space this offseason? Then look at the AFC, where the top six teams in effective
    2019 cap space exist per OverTheCap. Those teams, in order, are the Colts, Jets,
    Bills, Browns, Raiders, and Texans. Indianapolis actually has $117 million in
    effective space, almost $30 million more than second place New York. That’s even
    with $27 million going to Andrew Luck, but the Colts only have ten players set
    to make more than $2 million next season. Indy is in great position, coming off
    of a 10-6 season and having many key pieces in place at quarterback, offensive
    line, and on an emerging defense. They’ll have no problems retaining their own
    and should be able to compete for the services of any free agent.Not so much the
    case for many NFC teams.Teams set to have less than $20 million in cap space
    include the Panthers, Falcons, Saints, Bears,
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    , Vikings, and Eagles, with Philly currently projected
    at $14.4 million over. Only three AFC teams are looking at less than $20
    million, including the Patriots ($19 million), Dolphins, and Jaguars, the other
    team currently over the 2019 cap. The NFC teams in the best position for
    spending are the two teams now situated at the top of the 2019 NFL Draft:The
    49ers have $62 million in space and are picking second, while the Cardinals have
    $61 million and are picking first. The Cowboys are next at $53 million, followed
    by the Seattle Seahawks at $52 million. How will some of these financially
    struggling cap situations work themselves out?The Eagles entire offseason
    centers around the decisions to be made at quarterback, which ideally for them
    likely includes an agreement with Nick Foles to keep and trade him. The team
    will likely exercise the $20 million option that puts them over the cap and then
    he can choose to pay $2 million to enter free agency, at which point the Eagles
    can then franchise tag him if they wanted to. Instead, the two parties could
    agree he doesn’t opt out and then trade him. Either way, Philly is probably
    closer to $4 million in cap space than negative $14 million. It’s still not
    enough.The Eagles could save $7 million by releasing Timmy Jernigan, who missed
    all but three games. They’d save $8 million by releasing 37-year-old tackle
    Jason Peters. They’d save $5 million by releasing safety Rodney McLeod, who also
    missed 13 games. They’d save all $9.3 million of wide receiver Nelson Agholor’s
    salary. Is he a receiver you’d expect to be on that level of pay? They’d save
    $5.3 million by releasing defensive end Chris Long, who didn’t have as big of an
    impact this season as he did in 2017. They’d save $3 million to release backup
    lineman Stefen Wisniewski. These moves would allow them more flexibility to
    re-sign defensive end Brandon Graham, who is a free agent. They might also want
    to retain Golden Tate, who could be a better option than Agholor. There’s also
    cornerback Ronald Darby, running back Jay Ajayi, and defensive tackle Haloti
    Ngata as unrestricted free agents.The Minnesota Vikings famously aren’t getting
    away from Kirk Cousins $29 million salary next season and they have just $6
    million in effective cap space. Releasing safety Andrew Sendejo will save them
    $5.5 million, and $4.5 million if they wanted to part ways with starting right
    guard Mike Remmers. That may not be enough room for them to entertain re-signing
    Anthony Barr and Sheldon Richardson, both of whom are free agents. That’s when
    the decisions get tough. Trae Waynes is set to make $9 million on his fifth-year
    option and the Vikings could save all of that if they released the starting
    cornerback. I don’t know that they’d entertain releasing Xavier Rhodes, Everson
    Griffen, or Kyle Rudolph, but as an unbiased observer, I did for a second. The
    Buccaneers have just $12 million in cap space but can start chipping away on the
    roster immediately for new head coach Bruce Arians. I assume they’ll release
    defensive end Vinny Curry and save all $8 million of his salary. They could save
    another $10 million by letting go of receiver DeSean Jackson, who turns 33 next
    season and who was awful when playing with Jameis Winston (33.8 passer rating on
    Winston-to-Jackson). They’ll save $7 million by releasing tight end Cameron
    Brate, if they want to. A combined $7.5 million by releasing defensive linemen
    William Gholston and Mitch Unrein. Just those moves get Tampa Bay to $42 million
    in cap space and none of those contracts leave any dead money behind. With all
    that, there are still rumors that the Bucs could cut defensive tackle Gerald
    McCoy to save $13 million and make him one of the top free agents on the
    market.The Chicago Bears will be a popular Super Bowl pick next season I bet,
    but they have just $13 million in effective cap space and a priority free agent
    in safety Adrian Amos. They may also want to retain starting right tackle Bobby
    Massie. They’ll save $6 million by releasing tight end Dion Sims (how do
    contracts like that even happen?) and $3 million if they want to cut backup QB
    Chase Daniel. The next place they could possibly go is $6.4 million in savings
    on linebacker Danny Trevathan. Up next are the Saints, hot off the controversy
    of the season and still expected contenders for the NFC next year, with $14.4
    million in effective cap space. Free agents include running back Mark Ingram,
    tight end Ben Watson (retiring), linebacker Manti Te’o, and cornerback P.J.
    Williams. They’re spending the third-most money in the NFL on their offensive
    line (Cowboys first, Eagles second) and they’ve been grooming some potential
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    , so would New Orleans risk letting go of one of
    their starting linemen? Left guard Andrus Peat is on the fifth-year option
    ($9.6m, non-guaranteed) and the Saints would save $6.4 million if they let go of
    right guard Larry Warford. They’d save $7 million on center Max Unger. No
    expectation that they will, just a thought. They’d save $4 million on safety
    Kurt Coleman, $3.7 million on receiver Cameron Meredith, and $2.5 million on
    receiver Ted Ginn. The Saints may also try to work with Drew Brees on his $33
    million cap hit given his age and I’m sure Brees’s desire to win another Super
    Bowl before he retires.At nearly $18 million in effective cap space, the Falcons
    must be looking to load up on defense, since that’s the side of the ball that
    Dan Quinn has done almost nothing with since taking over. They could save $12
    million by releasing pass rusher Vic Beasley, who hasn’t been doing much of any
    pass rushing in the last two seasons. They’d save $7.9 million on cornerback
    Robert Alford. Another $4.5 million on defensive end Brooks Reed. And $3.2
    million on guard Brandon Fusco. Their free agents include Bruce Irvin, Terrell
    McClain, Grady Jarrett, Tevin Coleman, Jordan Richards, Ty Sambrailo, and Andy
    Levitre. The last NFC team I’ll look at are the Carolina Panthers, who have
    $19.1 in effective cap space. The Panthers free agents include Ryan Kalil,
    Thomas Davis, Julius Peppers, Eric Reid, Mike Adams, Wes Horton, Devin Funchess,
    Daryl Williams, and Chris Clark. They could lose two starters on the offensive
    line (Kalil, Clark), plus a third who started at tackle in 2017 (Williams). They
    could lose both safeties (Reid, Adams), two on the defensive line (Horton,
    Peppers), a starting linebacker and a starting receiver. Now, some of these
    players need to be replaced anyway, but Carolina has a lot of work to do and
    their disappointing season was not at all surprising to me as I picked them to
    finish well out of the playoffs. Because the roster just does not look very good
    and now they have little cap space and lots to fix. They save $6 million by
    releasing defensive end Mario Addison, but he’s been their leading pass rusher
    as of late. They save $9.2 million on the fifth year option of linebacker Shaq
    Thompson. They save $5 million if they release wide receiver Torrey Smith, which
    I’m sure they will. There’s $2 million on cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and $2.8
    million on fellow corner Ross Cockrell. They could chip off $2.5 million with
    safety Da’Norris Searcy. The Panthers could edge their way to $30 million in cap
    space but they’ll still have a lot of starting and reserve roles to fill.