Richard Sherman, the four-time Pro Bowler who was released by the Seattle Seahawks earlier this month, is facing criticism for negotiating his new $27 million contract with the 49ers without an agent.
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Many critics, including former Cleveland Browns offensive tackle Joe Thomas, said Sherman’s decision to do it on his own caused him to get “crushed” on his contract.
“You really feel bad for Richard Sherman, but this is clearly a case of ego getting in the way of his pocket book. He got absolutely crushed on this contract while working as his own agent,” Thomas tweeted.
Sherman, however, was quick to respond to critics in an op-ed for The Player’s Tribune on Tuesday, writing that he wanted to “be represented by somebody who was going to look out for my best interest and nothing else. So I thought, Who better than me?”
The four-time NFL All-Pro also added that he wasn’t flying by the “seat of his pants” but he did his research by downloading past contracts from the NFLPA database and in his eyes walk away with a good deal.
“Under my previous contract with Seattle, I had no guaranteed money for 2018. In my new deal with the 49ers, I get a guaranteed $3 million signing bonus right off the bat and another $2 million if I pass a physical before November 11 … $5 million for just signing the contract and passing a physical is a big win for me,” Sherman wrote.
Earlier this March, Sherman told FOX Business that he hopes other NFL players will soon follow his lead.
“There are contract lawyers that you can pay a one-time fee to look over the contract for you,” Sherman said.
“There are also players unions that keep track of every single contact that goes through the NFL, so I can get all the information that I need, so an agent is becoming an unnecessary commodity.”
Hiring an agent, he added, is especially unnecessary for rookies because for them there is really nothing to be negotiated.
“You just got drafted,” he said. “You can’t say I want more money.”
And he thinks the same goes for veteran players, whose resumes should essentially speak for themselves.
“I know where I stand in comparison to other players, so what is there to really negotiate there?” he said, adding that he even understands those awkward conversations he needs to have regarding his age and his recent injury.
Sherman, 29, said a lot of rookies in particular are played for fools at the beginning of their careers by financial advisers and hedge fund managers.
“Some of these kids are led astray and are taken advantage of,” he said. “These kids don’t understand what they are talking about, so they talk over their heads and they do a thousand transactions a day and these kids don’t make a dime while they are pocketing each transaction fee.”
In 2014, Sherman became one of the highest-paid defensive players after signing a $56 million contract extension, with $40 million guaranteed, including an $11 million signing bonus with the Seahawks. His new three-year deal with the 49ers is worth $27 million.