Three-time Pro Bowl linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who was stunningly released on Friday by the San Francisco 49ers, is now a free agent and can sign with any team in the NFL.
The Buffalo Bills do have a need at linebacker, not a glaring one, but the 29-year-old Bowman would be a solid addition to a Buffalo defense that is one of the best in the league this season. But with that said, Bowman most likely doesn’t have the Bills on his short list of teams that he would like to play for.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Bowman is expected to sign with a club fast, as in no later than Monday. The thought is that at this stage of his career, he wants to sign with a contender and one where he will play a prominent role. 49ers general manager John Lynch told the media that prior to releasing Bowman, a trade partner had emerged (reportedly the New Orleans Saints), but a deal didn’t get done because it wasn’t a team the linebacker wanted to play for. Bowman reportedly asked to be traded after being told by the 49ers that his snap-count was being reduced in favor of 2017 first-rounder Reuben Foster.
While Bowman would surely start for the Bills, their problem is despite having a solid start to the season, not many people would classify them as a real contending team at this point.
Since entering the league as a third-round pick of the 49ers in the 2010 draft, the Penn State product has had multiple prolific campaigns, being named an All-Pro four times. In three of his seven seasons, Bowman registered triple-digit tackles, and in another year, he finished with 96. He has 527 tackles, 12.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles. For a stretch of several seasons, Bowman was one-half of arguably the most fearsome linebacker duos in all of football with the now-retired Patrick Willis.
Stats aside, Bowman’s injury history is undoubtedly playing a factor in his appeal to prospective teams. He missed the entire 2014 season because of A knee injury, and also the final 12 games of last season because of an Achilles injury.
Through five weeks of the 2017 season, he has 22 tackles.