49ers shopping LB Bowman

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Na Vorro Bowman

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Na Vorro Bowman

The San Francisco 49ers announced on Friday that they have released linebacker NaVorro Bowman.

Earlier on Friday, league sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the 49ers were shopping Bowman and that there were teams interested in the veteran.

Now, he's been released from that contract and is free to sign with any team. When he has been healthy, he has been one of the NFL's best linebackers. And considering the capital invested in both Smith and Foster, one could see Bowman's tenure with the team as a bit more tenuous. Bowman appeared in just four games in 2016 after a torn Achilles ended his season last October. "Our defense has been averaging about 80 plays a game". And while Bowman was able to reach the Pro Bowl a year after his first injury, his 2017 campaign has been less than stellar. That led to the decision to trade Bowman.

Bowman has recorded 38 tackles over five games this season for the 0-5 49ers. Bowman's overall grade through five games this season is the lowest of his career. And considering his age, it's not like we can attribute this to growing pains or adjustments.

Bowman signed a four-year contract extension with team options through 2022, but the 49ers are apparently willing to send that contract elsewhere.

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It makes sense that San Francisco would potentially feel comfortable cutting ties with a player who has become synonymous with the organization - and specifically the NFC West franchise's defense - because of his injury-plagued past. A full-time starter since 2011, he played only 58 of 76 snaps in an overtime loss to the Colts on Sunday and still finished with a team-high 10 tackles.

It's possible the move was to light a proverbial fire under Bowman for the rest of the season.

Had this been during the Jim Harbaugh years, possibly, but it seems like less of a possibility now.

Bowman has been one of the most heavily utilized defensive players for the 49ers this season, playing 354 snaps. Yet we can trace the latest rumors back to specific fact-based incidents that have clearly led to this point.

As the 49ers continue to rebuild their entire roster, Bowman was a player stuck in between.

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