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John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Grant Cohn joins KNBR to discuss NaVorro Bowman’s future

Jun 7, 2017 at 3:53 PM--

Over the weekend, a headline from Rotoworld picked up steam based solely on shock factor. The headline read, "Report: 49ers could cut ILB Navorro Bowman." Rotoworld also included the following on their website.

"The Santa Rosa Press Democrat expects the 49ers to cut ILB Navorro Bowman."

In May, there was a report from former NFL executive and media analyst Mike Lombardi that the 49ers were quietly shopping Bowman to other teams. The 49ers quickly shot down that report. Of course, Lombardi stood by his statement even after the 49ers denied it was true.

The Rotoworld headline spawned from an article on Friday by Grant Cohn, in which the beat writer gave his opinion on Bowman's future – stating that he believes that the 49ers should cut the linebacker. It was Cohn's opinion based on his belief that Bowman's effectiveness on defense has diminished and that he has actually become a liability.

It was simply Cohn's opinion on what the 49ers should do, which is perfectly fine. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. However, what Rotoworld did instead was come up with a headline stating that the 49ers could cut Bowman, which was a bit deceiving considering there was no evidence that the team was even considering doing so. Rotoworld made no effort to explain that the report came from the opinion of one beat writer.

Cohn joined the Larry Krueger KNBR podcast on Tuesday and discussed his thoughts on Bowman and his future with the 49ers.

"During drills, he looks fine," Cohn said during the interview. "He looks like the old NaVorro. But those are movements that he practices every day, things that he has been doing for years. When he gets into team drills and he has to react on the fly and move instantly the way his mind would tell him to do in the past. He just can't do the movements that he used to be able to do and it really became evident when he tried to cover [49ers tight end] Garrett Celek, who's not hard to cover. He's probably not going to make this team. Garrett Celek just did a quick out and up, which is nothing much from him and Bowman had to grab his jersey just to hang with him. Otherwise, it would have been an easy touchdown."

Cohn went on to explain that seeing that from Bowman in practices was disconcerting because the inside linebacker will have to cover guys like tight end Greg Olsen and running back Christian McCaffrey when the 49ers kick off the regular season against the Carolina Panthers in September.

"At this point in his career, he can't move like that anymore," Cohn said. "If he's on the field on a passing down, every offensive coordinator in the league is going to try to figure out ways to isolate him in man-to-man coverage."

"If you think about it, the Niners are already heavily invested in two other inside linebackers," Cohn continued. "Big money commitment to Malcolm Smith and then they spent a first round draft pick on Reuben Foster. It stands to reason that once they see that Foster's shoulder is ok, that they are going to be in a position to cut Bowman. To me, it's like, 'Are they going to do it this year or next year?' It's inevitable. As long as you are in that position, get it over with."

Cohn believes that rookie linebacker Reuben Foster will be starting at inside linebacker if his shoulder holds up. Who will be next to him? He doesn't believe that it will necessarily be Bowman and thinks that free agent acquisition Malcolm Smith may do enough to push the 49ers All-Pro out of the starting lineup.

"Neither one is particularly good in coverage," Cohn said. "The reason the Raiders got rid of Malcolm Smith is because he couldn't cover tight ends. Neither can Bowman. It will be interesting."

In the latest 49ers Webzone No Huddle podcast, host Al Sacco shared his thoughts on the possibility of Bowman getting released by the 49ers.

"I don't agree with that opinion," Sacco said. "It makes no sense to cut him right now and I'll give you the reasons. One, even if you thought he was done and you thought Reuben Foster was going to replace him, Reuben Foster's hurt. And it's after June 1st so it's not like you would save all that money anyway ... And Bowman isn't done by any stretch of the imagination. Yeah, he's working his way back from a second major injury, but they're in OTAs and there's a long way to go for him to get in shape and get back into game speed and in game shape."

Sacco acknowledges that Bowman will not be the same player he was back in 2012 but that he possibly still has two or three good years left in him.

Our other host of the podcast, Zain Naqvi, joined the "Locked on 49ers" podcast on Monday and also shared his thoughts on the topic.

"Personally, I don't agree with it," Naqvi said. "I don't think he should be released. I don't think that he's a candidate to be released because when you're rebuilding a team, you need certain personailities on the roster. You need certain bridges to the future."


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