The 49ers decision Friday to release veteran linebacker NaVorro Bowman comes just 14 months after he was rewarded with a lucrative, long-term contract extension.
Trent Baalke, the 49ers’ general manager at the time, said he was “thrilled to know” Bowman would play his entire career with the 49ers.
But that contract also likely contributed to the new regime's decision to part ways with Bowman sooner rather than later.
“We took everything into account,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said on Friday. “And having said that, we felt like it was the best decision for us.”
Bowman appeared in just four games with the 49ers last season before sustaining a career-changing torn Achilles. When he came back this season, Bowman did not look like the same player. The 49ers’ coaching staff was beginning to lessen his workload in order to keep him fresh.
After Bowman expressed dissatisfaction with his changing role – publicly and privately – Lynch said the 49ers engaged in trade talks with “a couple teams” before opting to release him.
Here are the financial implications of the 49ers’ decision to part ways with Bowman, based on contract details filed through the NFL Player Assciation:
The 49ers will not have to pay $41.7 million in salary and bonuses he was scheduled to receive over the final five years of his contract.
Bowman was scheduled to earn $6.75 million in base salary this season -- $4.7 million of which was fully guaranteed. The 49ers are charged the full $6.75 million salary, as a cap hold is placed on the non-guaranteed portion of the salary for the termination pay for which Bowman can file.
The 49ers will not have to pay approximately $515,000 this season in per-game roster bonuses.
Before the move, the 49ers had a league-high $62.94 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association.
Next year, Bowman will account for $4.774 million of dead money -- or cap space from previously paid bonuses to a player no longer on the team. An option bonus that would have paid him an additional $3.45 million would have triggered in 2018, so the 49ers are no longer responsible for that amount.
The 49ers will save all $9.45 million of his scheduled 2018 pay, which would have included salary and bonuses.