Fooch’s update: John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan issued a statement denying Mike Lombardi’s report:
“The report that we have been shopping NaVorro Bowman is completely false. From the time we joined the organization, NaVorro has been the consummate professional. It is evident he has been working very hard to prepare for the upcoming season and we have been impressed by what we have already seen on the field. We are looking forward to NaVorro’s future contributions to this team.”
The San Francisco 49ers are in the middle of a roster churn, and it is becoming abundantly clear that no returning player is safe from some kind of consideration. Former NFL general manager Mike Lombardi was talking NFL trade possibilities on The Ringer NFL show podcast, and he mentioned linebacker NaVorro Bowman as a possibility.
The host was going through various names, and he mentioned Bowman as someone who is the subject of speculation regarding his future (related to the Achilles injury). He offered up a fairly generic, “they may be trying to unload that” with regard to his contract. Lombardi then said, “[The 49ers] have made it known that if you want him, he's healthy, that they’ll be willing to move.”
I sometimes wonder how much Lombardi knows and how much he wants us to think he knows. However, in this case, whether he has actually heard this or not, would it really be surprising the 49ers would put him and basically anybody else on the trade block? You need veterans to build around, but a new front office and coaching staff are going to want to bring in a lot of their own guys.
Lombardi offered up some speculation as to the “why” the team would deal Bowman.
“Bowman is a guy who’s been a leader in the locker room, who’s been part of the team. He had a really good relationship with the older general manager, Trent Baalke. So I think this is a message they would send to the locker room that he’s no longer in control any more. He’s available if you want. I don’t know who’s gonna pay him $9.5 million coming off all the injuries that he’s had, but you can have him. And I think ultimately, you gotta make that decision, and I don’t think that’ll be a lot.”
If the 49ers were trying to unload him, they’d be doing it at a fairly low point in Bowman’s value. He’s coming off his second major leg injury in three years, and is signed to a fairly sizable deal. There do not appear to be any future guarantees that a new team would have to deal with. The signing bonus would roll up on the 49ers cap space, and the new team would have non-guaranteed base salaries.
Whether or not Lombardi is talking out of his backside or not, it should surprise nobody that even some of the most veteran of 49ers are on the trade market. I don’t think the 49ers are going to take chop liver just to get rid of some of these guys, but I do think they’ll listen to offers for pretty much anybody on the roster. A team that goes 2-14 likely has very few indispensable players. There are certainly quality players from the incumbent roster, but few that are truly indispensable.