Richard Sherman discussing deal to join 49ers

Will Richard Sherman's foray into free agency be brief?

The four-time All-Pro cornerback, who was released by the Seattle Seahawks on Friday, is discussing a potential contract with the San Francisco 49ers, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Sherman is in the midst of a meeting with the 49ers, where he's set to undergo a physical and meet with team doctors to talk about the Achilles tendon he tore last year, Rapoport reported.

The scheduled meeting comes after Sherman had dinner Friday night with San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Rapoport reported. Niners general manager John Lynch has plenty of salary-cap space to potentially sign Sherman -- roughly $70 million, according to Over The Cap.

The Athletic's Marcus Thompson first reported the meeting.

In addition to the 49ers, Sherman is scheduled to visit with the Detroit Lions next week, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

The Bay Area connection is rather influential here. Sherman, a Stanford graduate, has a strong affinity for the West Coast (per Rapoport) and Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is familiar to Sherman, in both relationship and defensive scheme. Saleh was Seattle's defensive quality control coach from 2011-2013, which were also Sherman's first three seasons in the league.

Sherman, for his part, says he wants to play for a contender, and the 49ers could be one of the NFL's up-and-coming teams after winning its last five games behind QB wunderkind Jimmy Garoppolo. Sherman discussed Friday on KIRO-AM in Seattle what he's looking for in a new team.

"I want to go to a contender," Sherman said. "I play at a high level. I've always been a guy that can work well with others and continue to elevate if my teammates elevate and elevate others.

"...Would I go to a young secondary that is like we were when we were younger and help them grow and help them advance? Sure, if the number looks right and the situation is comfortable for me and my family."

If the 49ers are pleased with the direction of Sherman's rehab, there's a chance he could be wearing scarlet and gold in 2018. As colleague Chris Wesseling pointed out, the 49ers have a glaring need at cornerback, and Sherman could be a good fit for the team after it lost out to the NFC West rival Rams for Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib. And Lynch isn't being stingy this offseason -- he signed Garoppolo to a five-year, $137.5 million contract last month.

Here's something else to consider:

The Raiders, Patriots, Packers, Chargers, Saints, Cowboys and Falcons are among the other potential landing spots for Sherman, who is ranked No. 18 in's Top 101 Free Agents of 2018. The four-time Pro Bowler leads the league with 32 interceptions since entering the NFL in 2011 as a fifth-round draft pick. He also stands above the rest in passes defensed (99) and completion percentage allowed (47.4) during that span (min. 300 targets), per NFL Research.

Outside of the Kirk Cousins free agency bonanza, Sherman's decision will prove to be one of the hallmarks of the 2018 offseason.