DONE DEAL: 49ers Agree to New Contract with these players….

The San Francisco 49ers announced on Wednesday that they had awarded star linebacker NaVorro Bowman a massive contract extension following his successful comeback season in 2015.

Bowman’s contract is worth a total of $77 million over seven years, according to Pro Football Talk. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the new terms include $20 million in guaranteed money and add four more years to his current contract, which had three years left.

Bowman will get an additional $6 million over the next two seasons, $3.45 million in the 2018 season, and the remaining amount over the final four seasons, according to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on Thursday.

General manager Trent Baalke released a statement on the deal:

Over the last six years, NaVorro has become a cornerstone of our organization and securing his future in the Bay Area was a priority for us. The perseverance he displayed while overcoming adversity and returning to his All-Pro form provides a great example of what can be accomplished through hard work and self-belief. This contract extension reaffirms our core philosophy of rewarding our own players and we are thrilled to know NaVorro will play his entire career with the 49ers. 

One of the few defensive holdovers from the 49ers squad that participated in the Super Bowl following the 2012 season is Bowman, 28.

Four-time All-Pro Bowman missed all of 2014 due to a horrific knee injury he sustained during the San Francisco 49ers’ January NFC Championship Game loss to the Seattle Seahawks. When he returned in 2015, he led the NFL with 154 total tackles, starting all 16 games.

But as Pro Football Focus’s Nathan Jahnke pointed out, there were some glaring signs that Bowman was not performing to his pre-injury level:

Bowman’s performance in coverage was a big part of what made him an All-Pro in the past, but in 2015, the 49er wasn’t nearly as good as he had been. He had an average of six passes defended annually from 2011 to 2013, but in 2015, he only had one. It was a career-high 9.3 yards per catch allowed for him. Among all linebackers, he allowed the fifth-most receiving yards (604 yards). A career-high 19 missed tackles were also recorded by him.

According to CBS Sports salary-cap expert Joel Corry, the 49ers “needed to spend money” because, should the salary cap increase to $168 million, they should have approximately $90 million in cap space prior to Bowman’s new contract the following season.

Bowman is still getting back into shape after such a lengthy absence, and his physical abilities shouldn’t be deteriorating at his age, so there are reasons to think he can be a valuable pass cover man once more.

The 49ers are currently rebuilding their entire roster, but defense has received a lot of attention in the draft; defensive linemen DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead have received back-to-back first-round selections the past two years.

Bowman is the elder statesman of the 49ers defense and face of the franchise. The team’s investment in him is a testament to his work ethic and dedication, but it’s too soon to tell whether it was money well spent.

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