SANTA CLARA A somewhat soft-spoken NaVorro Bowman took to the outside podium at the 49ers practice facility at dusk Tuesday to address his new five-year contract extension, with the loud crashing and banging of stadium construction acting as a sound bed to his press conference.
NEWS: Bowman inks five-year deal
The beams and girders are still being loudly put into place, but Bowman now knows for certain that hes going to be taking snaps in what is sure to be a gorgeous new facility when it opens in 2014. In fact, the 6-foot, 242-pounder can now be considered a part of the concrete foundation of the team and its defense for the foreseeable future.
It means a lot. Ive been wanting to be here since the first day I got here, said the third-year linebacker out of Penn State. For me, to get this done and be here through 2018 is just a great thing.
The announcement comes in the middle of what can only be considered a successful season up to this point, as the 8-2-1 Niners have the second-best record in the NFC.
Why get it done now?
Bowman said: This is a very physical game. And whenever you have a chance to get a deal done, and it sounds good, and everyone is comfortable with it, why not? We take a lot of risks out there as football players. So for me, to get this deal done, just means a lot. It shows the organization trusts me and Im just happy to be a part of it.
The move ensures that Bowman and fellow linebacker and good friend Patrick Willis will be together through at least the 2016 season. In fact, Willis was among the first people Bowman gave his good news. He just couldn't keep the secret any longer.
As soon as I told him this morning -- I wasnt supposed to, but I couldnt keep it from him, Bowman said. He has a great deal to do with this, too, just playing beside him and him helping me through this season and last year.
Willis said: I just want to say, its trulytoday is a very blessed day. Not only for this organization, but for NaVorro and his family. I know hes going to continue to play hard, and continue to do all the things right to become an even better player. Truly blessed to have him here for a long time, and beside each other.
Bowmans agent Drew Rosenhaus revealed that he had been working with the 49ers organization since the start of the season, after he approached the team in the offseason. The two sides were originally far apart, according to Rosenhaus, but the agent had only good things to say about the teams front office for finalizing a deal on Tuesday.
Its a very special accomplishment. I take my hat off to the Niners and to NaVorro, Rosenhaus said. I think only the most proactive teams get it done. I think this is perhaps the most talented team in the NFL. If you want to keep all your good players, you have to get deals done now. You cant let guys get to free agency. You cant keep everybody.
Willis and his hefty salary threw a monkey wrench into the negotiation process, according to Rosenhaus. According to the NFL Networks Albert Breer, Bowmans new contract is worth 45.25 million over five years, with 25.5 million of that guaranteed. In the 2010 offseason, Willis inked a five-year, 50 million deal (29 million guaranteed).
Once we got to a level of guaranteed compensation, we knew we werent going to get caught up with who was making more. NaVorro was not about that, Rosenhaus said. We were very comfortable with this deal. Hes one of the top-five highest paid guys at the position. Hes gotten it earlier than just about anybody and were very comfortable with the deal.
Bowman said: In order for us to keep the guys that we have together, were going to have to give on each side. Thats what was done. We worked together. I wasnt mad about not getting paid more than Pat. Hes my brother. We play together, we play close together, and were making the same amount of money just about. Im happy about it, and I wont lose any sleep over it. Im glad to be a Niner for a few more years.
Willis doesnt seem too concerned, either. In fact, the godfather of Bowmans twin daughters only has one request for himself and his fiance.
"A super nice dinner. A medium-plus steak with probably a lobster tail, so a little surf-n-turf deal, with some good mashed potatoes and some vegetables, Willis said. And some ice cream for dessert. Vanilla."