Pro Bowl

Why Kyle Shanahan doesn't want 49ers players worried about Pro Bowl snubs

Why Kyle Shanahan doesn't want 49ers players worried about Pro Bowl snubs

For a team standing right near the top of the NFC standings and featuring a defense among the best in the league, you’d think more than four 49ers would be selected as Pro Bowl starters.

Some of San Francisco’s players were vocally frustrated by the perceived lack of respect, including Arik Armstead, who is within the top-10 in sacks among all NFL players.

"I'm mad. I’m mad, definitely. It’s something you dream about getting," Armstead said. "You work hard for it and you feel like you deserve it and you don’t get it. It’s beyond my understanding but it is what it is."

But coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t want his players focusing on individual honors with the postseason and a chance at a trip to Miami for Super Bowl LIV on the horizon.

"We've got four guys who made it, but I told the guys yesterday it doesn't mean a lot to the team or the organization because it's a Pro Bowl and stuff," Shanahan Thursday said on his weekly KNBR appearance. "But it's a ton for the players to get that recognition and everything. They got four guys who made [it as starters]. They've got a number of alternates. But I do believe we should have more than four. 

“That's kind of what I tell the guys because they all want to fight and get that stuff.”

The 49ers ended up with four starters on the NFC squad, including tight end George Kittle, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, defensive end Nick Bosa and cornerback Richard Sherman.

[RELATED: Why Pro Bowl nod means more for 49ers' Sherman this year]

Armstead, along with seven of his teammates, was listed as an alternate.

49ers players like DeForest Buckner and Raheem Mostert can use these selections as motivation, and I’m sure they’d much rather be packing up their bags for Miami than spending the weekend before the Super Bowl playing a somewhat meaningless contest in Orlando.

49ers' Arik Armstead upset with Pro Bowl snub, will use it as motivation

49ers' Arik Armstead upset with Pro Bowl snub, will use it as motivation

SANTA CLARA -- It did not go unnoticed that while the 49ers' defense has been dominant through the better part of the season, only two defensive players received Pro Bowl invitations.

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead has had a break out 2019 campaign, hitting career highs in several categories. He has amassed 10 sacks, 16 quarterback hits, 11 tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Needless to say, he was less than pleased by only being named as an alternate for the Pro Bowl. 

"I'm mad. I’m mad, definitely. It’s something you dream about getting," Armstead said. "You work hard for it and you feel like you deserve it and you don’t get it. It’s beyond my understanding but it is what it is."

Armstead took to Twitter to express his disgust and seems ready to take out his aggression on the 49ers' upcoming opponents -- the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks. 

While coach Kyle Shanahan approves of anything that gives his players a little more motivation, he stressed to the team that what they do in the coming weeks is much more significant. 

“I would love anything that gets guys to play better, but the Pro Bowl doesn’t mean much in terms of anything for the team or what it does for the team,” Shanahan said before the honors were announced. “I think it’s really cool for those guys so I want everyone to get a Pro Bowl vote who deserves it. 

"I think we’ve got a lot of guys who deserve it, but I try to tell them, don’t put too much into it because not everyone who deserves to go to the Pro Bowl goes to the Pro Bowl and some people do, so I’m not taking that away also. 

“I’m really happy for guys if it happens because a number of guys deserve it, but those guys also better not be too upset if it doesn’t happen because it’s not guaranteed for them even if they deserve it.”

Because of name recognition, at times players have been selected to the Pro Bowl for their overall body of work, as opposed to their actual stand-alone season. Players enjoying a breakout season often fly under the radar and don't receive Pro Bowl recognition until the following season.

Armstead does not agree with either of these philosophies. 

“I don’t feel like it’s a consolation because why would it lag?” Armstead said. “I mean the Pro Bowl is the 2019 season so you should get what you deserve that season. I don’t understand why it should lag.” 

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh agrees that Armstead has had an outstanding season but also understands that the Pro Bowl doesn’t always reflect that. 

“You know, I think sometimes that Pro Bowl thing can be a popularity vote,” Saleh said. “I think coach had a really good message that the players’ names are put to a higher standard with what you do in December and January. 

“We are a young team that hasn’t done a lot over the last few years and we’ve got an opportunity in front of us to do something about it and really cement our names in the history of the league, if you want to say it that way. There’s a lot more guys deserving of it than just two Pro Bowls, in my opinion.”

[RELATED: Why Pro Bowl nod means more for 49ers' Sherman this season]

Armstead’s disappointment was palpable but that might be a good thing for the 49ers' defense. The fifth-year defensive lineman has a little extra motivation as the team heads into the last two games of the season with their playoff destiny riding on how they perform against the Rams and Seahawks.

“I obviously have a lot more to prove if people don’t see me as one of the best defensive linemen in the league.” 

49ers' Richard Sherman reveals what he plans to do with Pro Bowl bonus

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49ers' Richard Sherman reveals what he plans to do with Pro Bowl bonus

Richard Sherman was wise to include the clause in his contract that would pay him a $1 million bonus for being named a Pro Bowl starter. Now that he has earned it, he's sticking to the wise decisions.

So what does the 49ers' standout cornerback plan to do with his bonus? Sherman told reporters Wednesday that he plans to put it back into the market.

"It's getting invested in something that gives me a decent return," Sherman said. "So the kids will end up having it to enjoy. I don't get to spend it."

Well, that's not exactly the most exciting decision, but chances are Sherman didn't make it alone. After all, it wasn't even his idea to include the Pro Bowl bonus clause in the contract he himself negotiated -- it was his wife's.

"It was her idea," Sherman told reporters. "We were sitting there kind of stalemated on the length of the deal and just the terms. I was like 'Let's just do a one and then we'll revisit it after one and we will see where everybody stands.' And then they were like 'We want a longer term deal but just not too long.'

"[The 49ers] wanted some security and we wanted some security. And they were like 'If you're the player that we know you are then it'll work out. The incentives will come into play and you'll make the money you deserve to make.' But I said 'If I do that I still won't have any security for the next year.' And my wife was like 'Well, why don't you just make the Pro Bowl and the things that trigger him to get those incentives, guaranteeing his next year's deal? Because if he's making the Pro Bowl or he's making All-Pro, it means he's playing like the player you guys thought he was, and it should work our perfectly.'"

"They agreed. That's why I signed the deal."

Next season, Sherman will be on the final year of the three-year contract he signed with San Francisco prior to the 2018 season. As a result of being named a Pro Bowl starter, his 2020 salary not only has been increased, but now becomes fully guaranteed on April 1.

[RELATED: Why Pro Bowl nod means more for 49ers' Sherman this year]

Given the extremely high level Sherman has performed at this season, it wouldn't be surprising to see him negotiate another contract for himself in the near future.

If he does, though, you can bet it will include another bonus clause or two.