NaVorro Bowman contract information: Details leaking out

Ezra Shaw

We break down the details of NaVorro Bowman's contract extension, with details reported by Pro Football Talk.

Earlier this afternoon, the San Francisco 49ers inked All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman to a five year contract extension that will keep him in the Bay Area until 2018. Bowman was previously signed on his rookie deal through 2013 and scheduled to earn $575,000 next season after $540,000 this season. While that is a nice way to earn a living, we all know sports salaries are in a different world than non-sports. In that sense, Bowman was considerably underpaid.

The 49ers now have all four linebackers signed for a while. There had been reports of all four being signed through 2015, but in reality, it's 2014, with three of the four beyond that. Aldon Smith's rookie contract locks him up through 2014, Patrick Willis is signed through 2016 and Ahmad Brooks is signed through 2017.

Pro Football Talk have reportedly gotten their hands on Bowman's contract figures. If these figures are accurate, the deal is not overly complicated. Bowman receives a signing bonus of $7.5 million, which then gets pro-rated for cap purposes. Given the 49ers relative lack of cap space, this explains how they were able to get the deal done. They included a $4 million option bonus for 2013, which allows them to basically pay out an $11.5 million bonus over two years.

Signing Bonus: $7,500,000
Roster bonuses: Based on number of games he is active in a season. Paid out on a per-game basis

2012
Base: $540,000

2013
Base: $630,000 - injury guarantee now; fully guaranteed at start of 2013 league year
Option Bonus: $4,000,000 - injury guarantee for now it would appear

2014
Base: $4,000,000 - injury guarantee now; fully guaranteed at start of 2014 league year
Roster Bonuses: $750,000 (per-game basis)

2015
Base: $4,700,000 - injury guarantee now; fully guaranteed at start of 2015 league year
Roster Bonuses: $750,000 (per-game basis)

2016
Base: $5,850,000 - $4.17M guaranteed for injury for now; fully guaranteed at start of 2016 league year
Roster Bonuses: $750,000 (per-game basis)

2017
Base: $6,750,000 - non-guaranteed
Roster Bonuses: $750,000 (per-game basis)

2018
Base: $8,700,000 - no mention of guarantees, but likely not guaranteed
Roster Bonuses: $750,000 (per-game basis)

PFT made an excellent point about the state of the market for young linebackers. They pointed out that it is relatively soft compared to the running back market, and given the nature of injuries in football, NaVorro Bowman was attempting to cash in now while he still had some measure of leverage.

If Bowman sticks around for the length of this deal, he will be 30 years old when he enters free agency again. Of course, with big time players, more often than not deals are re-done, extended and whatever else long before the player re-approaches free agency. If Bowman remains healthy and product, he will have another opportunity to cash in down the road. And if he gets hurt or somehow looses his mojo, he'll have made a smart move to cash in early. This is not an exorbitant deal, but I would argue this is a win-win deal for both sides.

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