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Back to the Bay: Richard Sherman agrees to three-year deal with the 49ers

Richard Sherman has signed with San Francisco. (Scott Eklund/AP)

Free agent cornerback Richard Sherman reportedly signed with the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday night, joining his former NFC West rival less than 24 hours after being released by the Seattle Seahawks.

Sherman signed a three-year deal worth $39.15 million, he told ESPN’s Josina Anderson after meeting with the 49ers earlier on Saturday. The 29-year-old Sherman, who earlier this month declared that he wished to sign with “a contender,” had also reportedly generated interest from a number of other teams.

Richard Sherman’s release accelerates Seahawks’ dismantling, creates free agent intrigue

While San Francisco is far from a Super Bowl contender at this point, the signing means Sherman can return to the Bay Area, where he played college football at Stanford before Seattle selected him in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL draft. Sherman also established himself as a heated rival of the 49ers during his years in Seattle, which included a memorable win over San Francisco in the NFC championship game in 2014, when Sherman made a game-saving deflection that led to an interception late in the fourth quarter. That play, of course, led to another indelible Seahawks-49ers moment, right after the game.

Seattle’s vaunted “Legion of Boom” defense, of which Sherman was a member, led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl victory that same year, and another appearance the year after. That unit began to disband earlier this week after defensive lineman Michael Bennett was traded to Philadelphia.

Sherman’s release was a cost-cutting measure by the Seahawks, and ended a run that included four pro bowls and 99 consecutive starts before he tore his Achilles’ tendon in a game in November. On Saturday, Sherman indicated that his free agency could be a drawn out process, sending out this tweet:

Yet Sherman reportedly didn’t need to take any other visits after he met with the 49ers, where he joins forces with second-year general manager John Lynch, who also played his college ball at Stanford. Sherman also expects to be back running soon as part of his rehabilitation, he told Anderson.

“I’m thankful to John [Lynch, 49ers GM] and Kyle [Shanahan, 49ers coach] for believing in me,” he said. “Some smaller details still getting ironed out, but #ShermInTheBay.”

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