On Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers proved that they have a lot of confidence in ILB NaVorro Bowman and his future with the team. The two have agreed to a four-year extension worth $44 million, per Adam Schefter of ESPN. The deal includes $20 million guaranteed. He had three years left on his original deal.
49ers LB Navorro Bowman has agreed to a four-year extension worth $11 million per year, including $20M gtd, per source. Had 3 years on deal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 4, 2016
The extension was added to his current deal and will keep him with the 49ers through the 2022 season, when he will be 34 years old. The total value of the new seven-year contract is $77 million. The deal makes Bowman the league's second-highest paid inside linebacker, behind only the Carolina Panthers' Luke Kuechly.
#49ers LB NaVorro Bowman gets a 3rd contract after playing just 2 years of his previous 1. A rarity. They think he's gonna have a huge year— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 4, 2016
"I want to thank Jed, the York family and Trent for giving me the opportunity to continue my career where my heart is," said Bowman following the announcement of the deal. "I appreciate the hard work that Drew and Paraag put in to getting this deal done. My teammates and coaches have meant so much to me throughout my career and I thank them for helping me become the player I am today. The support I've received from my family and friends throughout my life, especially through the adversity of the past few years, has meant so much to me. I can't wait for the season to start and play in front of the best fans in the NFL."
Our own Aaron Erickson believes that the extension sends a message that the 49ers are willing to reward their own players that perform at a high level.
This sends a message that the team won't wait to reward the guys who are doing it right on every level. Hope the young guys get it. #49wz— Aaron Erickson (@EricksonAaron44) August 4, 2016
Bowman, who started all 16 games in 2015 and had $23.6 million is salary and bonuses left on his original contract, played at a high level during his first season back after recovering from a torn ACL and MCL. His 154 tackles led the league.
"I'm just excited to prove the doubters wrong and get back to the level I was at and get the respect that I deserve," Bowman said Saturday when the 49ers reported to training camp.
Who are those doubters? Despite his phenomenal season, some still believe that Bowman underperformed last year – a year that Bowman was admittedly not 100 percent healthy. The All-Pro linebacker came in at number 61 in this year's Top 100 Players of 2016, which is done by NFL Network. Bowman wasn't too happy about that and called the list "totally bogus."
Bowman also completely missed Pro Football Focus' Top 101 NFL players of 2015 list. "He had one of the worst coverage grades among all linebackers in a league that has become ever-more pass-oriented," said Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus.
"Over the last six years, NaVorro has become a cornerstone of our organization and securing his future in the Bay Area was a priority for us," said general manager Trent Baalke via the team's official website. "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 NaVorro will play his entire career with the 49ers."