NaVorro Bowman

In an offseason full of 49ers departures, is NaVorro Bowman next?

Stevie Johnson NaVorro Bowman 49ers

Remember when Michael Wilhoite was on the trading block? It was a couple weeks ago that Matt Barrows reported that bit of news, which showed just how much of a surprise Chris Borland’s retirement was to the 49ers.

Five days later, ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez dropped this little nugget into a story titled, “Patrick Willis’ retirement shines light on Chris Borland … again”:

Look, Willis was expected to make a full recovery and be joined in the middle of the Niners’ 3-4 defense by another former All-Pro, NaVorro Bowman, who missed all of last season still recovering from the gruesome left knee injury he suffered in the NFC title game in January 2014.

But now speculation is rampant that Bowman could be cut, as well, a did-not-pass-the-physical casualty. Granted, it’s all conjecture at this point, but it’s also a logical leap.

Whether or not the leap was logical nine days ago is one thing, with Borland looking like a future starter at the position for the next five years — if not longer — at the time. How about now, with Willis and Borland gone and a depth chart that looks like this?

  • NaVorro Bowman (who was better than DPOY Luke Kuechly in 2013)
  • Michael Wilhoite (almost certainly won’t be traded now)
  • Nick Moody (who’s done more on special teams than on defense)
  • Shayne Skov (practice-squadder who’d be a major liability in coverage)

One could also throw in Ahmad Brooks, who’s still on the roster and played middle linebacker at the beginning of his career. And there’s always the free agency route (Rolando McLain is still available … he’s also facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy), the draft, established NFL players who get cut this summer, etc.

However, with an inside linebacking pool that shallow, the 49ers pretty much have to give Bowman more time to recover, even if he’s facing the kind of recovery that led Marcus Lattimore to retire … right? Also, Bowman posted a grainy Instagram video of himself playing basketball, which may be a sign that he’s feeling extra mobile these days (unless the video is actually from 2013 or earlier).

Here’s what Trent Baalke had to say on the subject, per Chris Biderman:

“You can tell he’s working. And I think he feels good. He’s really starting to feel like it’s coming back to where he wants it. And that’s always the most important thing,” Baalke said Wednesday.

Baalke said Bowman did not suffer a setback to the knee during his practice stint (in December) – rather it was the best decision for Bowman’s future not to push his recovery.

“There was no setback at all,” Baalke said. “It was just a matter of what’s the best decision for him long-term at that time. And that was just the decision that we made.”

In the end, despite the “whatever terrible that could happen, ABSOLUTELY WILL HAPPEN” tone of this disastrous offseason, I’m prone to believe that Bowman will end up on the 49ers’ active roster for Week 1, or short-term IR at the absolute worst. They’ve lost so many stars already, which makes Bowman’s return even more crucial as the team’s hopes of continuing as an NFC West contender hang in the balance. And besides, if the 49ers determine that Bowman’s knee will never heal well enough to allow him to return as an above-average starting inside linebacker, and decide to cut him (probably after June 1) to get some cap space, their “reloading” process will undoubtedly have moved fully to the “rebuilding” phase … if that hasn’t occurred already.

***

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26 Comments on "In an offseason full of 49ers departures, is NaVorro Bowman next?"

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maxdank420
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maxdank420

BASportsGuy He’d certainly be better off getting out of yordwalk empire

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

maxdank420 Better Call Baal … ke

MikeinSF2
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MikeinSF2

BASportsGuy Funny you post that as Bowman posts a video of him playing Bball and doing a nasty crossover on some guy. The knee is fine

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

MikeinSF2 I mentioned that in the story, chief

Jamie_Gomes
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Jamie_Gomes

BASportsGuy what’s Takeo and his mutant neck up to these days?

maxdank420
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maxdank420

BASportsGuy Jed Lanksy

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

Jamie_Gomes I saw him in the press box during the 49ers/Chargers game. Pretty sure he’s media-only these days.

maxdank420
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maxdank420

BASportsGuy er its Lansky but yeah you get what i meant

Kyle_McLorgBASG
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Kyle_McLorgBASG

BASportsGuy maxdank420 it sure looks like the 49ers are Breaking… Bad *boos self*

BASportsGuy
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BASportsGuy

Kyle_McLorgBASG maxdank420 These days they’re a bunch of … Sad Men (throws rotten tomato at self)

peelerjim
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peelerjim

BASportsGuy If Bowman comes back, and Kaep has learned some stuff from Kurt Warner, offseason won’t have been a total loss.

CorralesMD
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CorralesMD

BASportsGuy Niners totally falling apart….. cc/ pgtotah vcrazy ShaunTran doodie

maxdank420
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maxdank420

BASportsGuy Kyle_McLorgBASG Halt and can harbaugh

SuperFreakingFaithful49JedYorkPwns4Life
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SuperFreakingFaithful49JedYorkPwns4Life

If he does have to be cut, worry not because the greatest GM on planet earth is gonna go to work. You can assert all your misguided criticisms at the way he drafts wideouts, but your Haterade can’t say nothing about how awesome Trent is at drafting linebackers. 

VIVA JED

FAITHFUL

richardaustinha
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richardaustinha

BASportsGuy Kyle_McLorgBASG maxdank420 *cue Silicon Valley and six feet under* jokes

ShaunTran
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ShaunTran

CorralesMD Remember..York is holding himself accountable!! :X BASportsGuy pgtotah vcrazy doodie

pgtotah
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pgtotah

CorralesMD BASportsGuy vcrazy ShaunTran doodie York needs to do more than that. Words & actions don’t always align

TheFranchize55
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TheFranchize55

BASportsGuy Sooo, nothing new to report on Bowman then. #statusquo

vcrazy
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vcrazy
FrankCosteIIo
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FrankCosteIIo

BASportsGuy What makes me sick about the injury is that Eric Reid caused it.. Reid shoved a Seahawk player hard directly towards Bo’s knee.

BayAreaSport408
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BayAreaSport408

BASportsGuy doubt it…

FrankCosteIIo
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FrankCosteIIo

BASportsGuy I’ve hated Reid ever since he practically ended the career of the best linebacker in the NFL. Reid also stopped hitting #Soft

drionbh3
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drionbh3

ShaunTran CorralesMD pgtotah vcrazy doodie he should pick up How To Run an NFL Team for Dummies if he wants to get back to the basics

BA Rich
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BA Rich

@BASportsGuy MikeinSF2 wait, we’re suppose to read these things?

BA Rich
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BA Rich

@FrankCosteIIo BASportsGuy how do you feel about Ken Norton Jr.?

EliDrabman
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EliDrabman
Wait, it’s been like a month since Tomsula took over as head coach, and still no super bowl?!  WTF?  I guess it’s time to mutually agree to part ways under circumstances that are 100% mutual, agreeable and philosophical.   Seriously, though… I’m still mad about that call on the Bowman play.  Shouldn’t a ref have been canned or a rule changed or something?  I feel like a madman ranting in the wilderness.  How do you have a championship game-changing, career-ending blown call shown over and over again on national television… and everybody’s just like, “Whelp… these things do happen”?????  And… Read more »
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