NaVorro Bowman seemed a lock for the San Francisco 49ers 53-man roster, but one report has him on the trading block midway through the offseason.
With the 2017 NFL Draft in the rearview, the San Francisco 49ers have started to purge about 60 percent of the roster. In fact, team general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have been very clear that they want their guys on the roster.
In search of their players, they have cut guys from the previous regime unmercifully. Regardless of profile, the new front office wants to build their roster from the ground up. From the quarterback position to special teams, no position has really been safe.
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Yet, both Lynch and Shanahan have been very transparent regarding roster moves and trades thus far. During the draft, both Lynch and Shanahan confirmed that newly extended tight end Vance McDonald was being shopped around the league. Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News noted just how candid the duo was about trade discussions.
Shanahan spoke to the media about the matter and assured everyone that the front office had informed McDonald about the trade well before the media had reported on the trade. Lynch has been very transparent since taking the position as the top personnel man in Santa Clara.
He is so honest that he even admits what he does not know. For example, he blatantly admitted that he did not know that five-year options for first-round drafted rookies was a thing, according to Pro Football Talk. This response came a day after being asked if the team was going to pick up defensive back Jimmy Ward’s fifth-year option. Lynch, of course, retorted that the team would certainly pick up Ward’s fifth-year option. While the new team leadership wants their guys, they certainly haven’t cut all the team’s previous top talent.
Stud left tackle Joe Staley doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Starting running back Carlos Hyde still appears to be the feature back heading into 2017. Even underperforming edge rushers Aaron Lynch and Ahmad Brooks are still on the roster. Aaron Lynch in particular could be an ideal trading piece. He is young, powerful and still developing. But, his penchant to lose control of his weight has grounded his athletic ability.
All of these players are previous starters but none of them have been cut or mentioned in a trade scenario as of yet. Making the report that NaVorro Bowman is available for a trade seem like fake news. Still, is it far-fetched to suggest a trading scenario involving Bowman? No.
In fact, on a certain level it makes sense. Bowman is 29 years old and coming off two major leg injuries. Reports coming out of Santa Clara have Bowman running at full speed. Still, Bowman may never return to his pro-bowl form. If he never returns to his pre-injury form, why not try to get something for a player with a marquee name?
Well, the reasons to keep Bowman far outweigh the reasons to let him go. For one, Bowman’s contract will make it incredibly hard for any team to take him on. Next season, Bowman is due a base salary of $6,750,000, per Spotrac. There are not too many teams that will be willing to pay that much for a player coming off an Achilles injury. Also, Bowman is 29 years old, making his contract even harder for teams to accept.
Finally, the greatest attribute that Bowman brings to the locker room is veteran leadership. On a rebuilding team, you need veterans to help bridge the gap of inexperience. The value of keeping Bowman is much greater than trading him.
In 2017, the 49ers defense will be filled with a bunch of young players. They will need an old rooster who can command and lead them. Bowman has been through the big games, the injuries, the rehab. Bowman has been through it all. Toughness. Character. Experience. Tenacity. Bowman is the personification of these traits.
In a trade, the best the team could hope for would be a seventh- or sixth-rounder at best. How many of these players end up panning out? Exactly. Thankfully, the 49ers’ new chain of command have strongly refuted the Bowman talks. As open and honest as the duo has been, there is no reason to doubt them at this point.
Plus, for all the reasons mentioned above, it just makes more sense to keep Bowman than it does trading away all that leadership, toughness and extreme physicality. Fortunately, it seems like the 49ers brass agrees. I mean, do you really want to see him in any other colors?