Horrific–a word fitting for the San Francisco 49ers’ 2015-16 season. But the franchise has taken a step in the right direction by retaining one of the NFL’s most ferocious headhunters.
NaVorro Bowman signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension with the 49ers on Wednesday night, according to league sources. With this extension, Bowman becomes the second-highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL behind Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Bowman, 28, has three-years left on his prior deal. The Niners reportedly increased his payout over the next three years, awarding the inside linebacker an extra $6 million over the next two seasons and an extra $3.45 million in 2018. In total, Bowman is looking at $67.55 million over the next seven years.
Of Bowman’s new contract extension, which has the inside linebacker locked in until 2022, $20 million is guaranteed.
Not only does the extension mean more money for the linebacker; it also gives Bowman, who carries the nickname”Big Money”, more years to build on his legacy as a Niner.
Since entering the league in 2010, Bowman has racked up 636 total tackles. Bowman had at least 143 tackles all three seasons between 2011 and 2013 before sitting out the entire 2014 season due to tears in both his left ACL and MCL.
Bowman came back off his injury like a man on a mission in 2015, as he piled up a league-leading 154 tackles last season and made his third Pro Bowl.
Despite Bowman’s success, his team was plagued with losses in 2015.The 49ers were among the NFL’s worst defenses as the team finished last in the NFC West at 5-11. San Fransisco finished 29th in total defense and 27th in pass defense. They were also the fourth-worst in sacks (28) and were tied with the Atlanta Falcons for most rushing touchdowns allowed (20) in the entire NFL.
If there is any football fan out there questioning whether or not Bowman is worth being paid so much, open your eyes. In an offseason where head coach Chip Kelly is facing a dilemma in choosing between quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert as well as trying to repair a broken defense, the franchise needs some reassurance.
Hence, Mr. Bowman. Any NFL team could use a guy who is good for 140-plus tackles, winning or not.
Information from Pro Football Talk, Spotrac and NFL.com were used in this report.