NaVarro Bowman reached a new deal with the 49ers, agreeing to a $77 million contract extension for over 7 years. Adam Schefter reported that the new contract adds four more years to his current one, which had only 3 years remaining.
GM Trent Baalke released a statement on the deal saying, “Over the last six years, NaVarro has become a cornerstone of our organization and securing his future in the Bay Area was a priority for us. The perseverance he displayed while overcoming adversity and returning to his All-Pro form provides a great example of what can be accomplished through hard work and self-belief. This contract extension reaffirms our core philosophy of rewarding our own players and we are thrilled to know NaVarro will play his entire career with the 49ers.”
28-year-old NaVorro Bowman is one of the few remaining defensive players from earlier times on the 49ers team that played in the Super Bowl after the 2012 season.
Bowman, a four-time All-Pro, missed the entire season in 2014 after suffering from a knee injury during the 49ers loss against the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game the January prior to that. But he made his return in 2015, started all 16 games, and led the NFL in tackles (with a total of 154).
But as Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus said, there were some obvious indications that Bowman was not playing up to his pre-injury self: “Part of what made Bowman an All-Pro in the past was his play in coverage, but the 49er wasn’t anywhere close to as good in coverage in 2015 as he had been in the past. From 2011 to 2013, he averaged six passes defended per year, but only had one in 2015. His 9.3 yards per catch allowed was a career-high. His 604 receiving yards allowed was fifth-most for all linebackers. He also recorded a career-high 19 missed tackles.”
Salary cap expert Joel Corry of CBS Sports said that the 49ers needed to spend money since they were projected to have nearly $90 million in cap space next year before Bowman’s new deal if the salary cap rises to $168 million.
Since NaVorro Bowman was still rounding back into form after such a long layoff and he’s not at an age in which his physical skills should be decreasing, there are reasons to believe he can once rise to the top and be a monster in pass coverage like he once was.
Bowman is the elder statesman of the 49ers defense and is the face of that franchise. The teams investment in him could be a blessing in disguise, or a total bust, so sooner than later, we’ll find out if that money was well spent.
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