I was hard at work on Friday and away from watching the site when I finally checked my Facebook around 4:00 PM to see a post from a fellow Niner fan saying “NOT BOWMAN!”
My instant response: “Dammit, he injured himself in practice”. When I took a break, my jaw dropped. My heart shattered.
This really, really sucks. But it’s also the right call.
Who has a shot at the 49ers future? Reuben Foster definitely does, Ray Ray Armstrong potentially, I’d love to see what Elijah Lee can do after he thumped dudes at Kansas State . I can tell you who doesn’t: Navarro Bowman. The 49ers are keeping him on the sidelines to make sure he has a future, not if he’s the future of the team. Bowman hasn’t been terrible, but he’s not the guy that they had in the NFC Championship game. With that contract, the 49ers thought they could get better, faster, stronger and cheaper. The 49ers have a bunch linebackers that they need to evaluate before they make a decision on drafting a possible playmaker to stand next to Reuben Foster. And I wonder if they may use another high pick to solidify that unit once more if the others don’t produce what the coaching staff wants.
And before you point to the offense and wonder why they haven’t done this to Pierre Garcon (though they signed him in the offseason)—two reasons. They didn’t draft someone with the offensive upside that Reuben Foster has for the defense, and Garcon gets around $3 million a year instead of six. If the 49ers draft a playmaking wide receiver in a year or two, the same could happen to him.
But as strange of a move this is,John Lynch gets a lot of credit for how he handled it. That’s why he’s the general manager. He didn’t play the “my way or the highway” card or trade him to Cleveland for a draft pick. He gave him the money, the dignity, and wished him well. That type of professionalism is something free agent veterans are going to want, and it was what was sorely missing from the 49ers of yesterday.
But this still sucks. Bowman was a favorite of many fans. It’s always sad when you see them go, but as Bill Walsh says: “I want to end people’s careers, a year before they do.”
49ers release linebacker NaVorro Bowman, per his request (Sporting News)