helped lead the 49ers
to the NFC Championship Game, where he sustained a gruesome knee injury in a losing effort. (Pouya Dianat/SI)
The San Francisco 49ers continue to prepare for their negotiations with Colin Kaepernick next year, and they received some help toward that goal this week when fifth-year linebacker NaVorro Bowman restructured his contract with the team, according to a report from ESPN's Field Yates.
With the move, the team converted $3.3 million of Bowman's 2014 base salary into a signing bonus. That 2014 base salary now decreases from $4 million to $730,000, thus creating a little over $2.6 million in cap space as they get set to make a pivotal run at their quarterback following this upcoming season.
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The 49ers drafted Bowman in 2010 out of Penn State, and he immediately made an impact, seeing action in all 16 games as a rookie. He has improved ever since and is now one of the more dominant linebackers in the league.
Last season was undoubtedly Bowman's best as a professional, but it ended with a grisly injury. After amassing 145 tackles and five sacks with two interceptions, including one taken back for a touchdown, Bowman tore his ACL and suffered some MCL damage late in the 49ers' NFC Championship Game loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Bowman underwent surgery in February and is not expected to return to the field until at least midway through the 2014 season.
If the restructuring of his deal helps the 49ers lock up Kaepernick in the future, Bowman will have made a positive impact on the organization this season even before he returns to full health.