It’s been less than 48 hours but it looks like NaVorro Bowman has finally found a new home on the opposite side of the Bay.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting that the former 49ers linebacker has inked a deal with the Oakland Raiders and will be reunited with former 49ers teammate and now Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 16, 2017
So what can we expect out of Bowman when he suits up for the Raiders? There’s a bunch of positives and negatives we can say about him and about joining his new home.
A couple of things stand out about Bowman. First things are that he is a great tackler. He can help stop the running game for the opposition and he is a reliable linebacker that can change the course of a game down the stretch. The Raiders are in need of one of those players after starting linebacker, Marquel Lee, went down with an injury. Tyrell Adams and rookie free agent Nicholas Morrow are manning that position right now, but they’re not sure-fire linebackers yet, so an All-Pro linebacker is needed at that position. NaVorro Bowman fits that bill.
In terms of his leadership ability, he has shown flashes of that, especially for the 49ers the last few seasons when he was a veteran on an otherwise young roster. For the Raiders, who have some youth on that defense, a veteran is needed. In sports, it does have some benefits when you have some veteran leadership in there, and Bowman has shown he can be that, although at times experience can’t always translate to leadership. I believe Bowman is at a different level with that and can be both a leader and an experienced veteran that the Raiders need.
Bowman, despite him still being an All-Pro player, has shown at times that he can’t run anymore, even at an age of 29, which seems old in football these days. He has suffered through multiple injuries, including a torn ACL and MCL that kept him out the entire 2014 season. He was then lost for another year with an Achilles injury. Players with multiple injuries, especially in the Achilles injury, tend to have more trouble than others getting back to their own selves on the field. They can do it, but it’s a lot harder, and I believe Bowman is showing us that right now.
Bowman: Marginal Or Impactful?
It’s going to be a tale of two Bowmans this season. We’ve seen Bowman on the 49ers. Now we’re going to see him on the Raiders, and he’s going to need to step up if the Raiders are going to get back into this. They’ve had a terrible four weeks that all ended in losses, and if Bowman can get in there, be a leader, and be a guy that can help on the defense, I think that the Raiders have the ability to get back into it. He might be a somewhat-marginal player or he could be a big help. Thursday night’s actions against Kansas City will be the first test of whether or not he can be that.
Where The Raiders Go
If Bowman can prove to be a big factor, I think it’ll help the Raiders. But then again, if he gets hurt again, it could doom the Raiders for good. The Raiders don’t do well when their best players get injured or are a non-factor. Derek Carr is not out there, Lee is not out there, Marshawn Lynch isn’t the same player he was when he was in Seattle, and Bowman is not really the same player either and has been injured. Carr is the one guy that makes that team go and if he can’t get back out there, that’s trouble. But hopefully, Bowman can make an impact and be a difference-maker on this team. If not, and if Carr is not back to his normal self soon enough, then it’s absolute doom for this team.