The 0-5 San Francisco 49ers are continuing their trend of "out with the old, in with the new." Today, they announced the release of veteran linebacker NaVorro Bowman.
With little to gain in San Fran this year aside from player development and a high draft pick, parting ways with Bowman should help both sides move in the right direction. There is undoubtedly a list of potential suitors that would love to add a talent like him to boost their defensive core and make a postseason run-- lets identify five top candidates for his services.
5. Green Bay
The Packers' defense actually hasn't been all that bad, especially compared to last year. While have been playing well enough to get the wins so far, individual playmakers haven't distinguished themselves: Green Bay ranks in the bottom half of the league in points allowed, sacks, interceptions and and forced fumbles.
The Texans' season has been a story of inconsistency thus far on the defensive end. One week it's a lockdown performance, the next it's open season for opposing offenses to do as they please. With Bill O'Brien's attack looking like one of the best in the NFL, adding Bowman can help balance things out on the other side of the ball.
The Dallas defense is, in a word, porous, and front and center is their disastrous linebacker committee. There's no skirting around the fact that the the Cowboys have been atrocious on defense save for the season opener against a hapless Giants team that didn't even have Odell Beckham available. Any help will do, and Bowman is now free for the taking.
2. New England
New England is going through some issues right now. Despite talented additions like cornerback back Stephon Gilmore, the defense has struggled mightily: they rank dead-last in yards allowed and are tied for the second-worst mark in points allowed (28.4 PPG). The Pats will take anyone they can get. Bowman could represent a golden ray of hope.
The Raiders' defense has kept pace with its performances in recent years, and that's the last thing that Oakland wants. In looking over their many weaknesses, on Oakland's linebackers sit atop the list. Pairing that with a chance to play his former team out in the NFC West, we may have found Bowman's perfect fit.