NaVorro Bowman had to tell someone about his hefty new contract before it became public. And there was pal Patrick Willis first thing Tuesday before they began their morning workout.
“He was excited as soon as I told him, when I wasn’t supposed to,” Bowman said about Willis, the godfather of Bowman’s twin girls born earlier this year. “I couldn’t keep it from him. I think he has lot to do with this, helping me out.”
The 49ers’ inside linebacker pair of Bowman and Willis will be lining up together on San Francisco’s talented defense well into the future if all goes as planned.
On Tuesday, Bowman reached agreement on a five-year contract extension through the 2018 season — a deal worth $45.25 million, with $25.5 million in guaranteed money.
“Any time you get a chance to get a deal done and it sounds great and everybody’s comfortable with it, why not?” Bowman said. “It shows the trust the organization has in me.”
With Bowman’s new deal, it keeps one of the best and most-feared linebacking tandems in the NFL together for the long haul — as Willis is signed through 2016.
The 24-year-old Bowman, a third-round draft pick in 2010 out of Penn State, has 100 tackles, two sacks and an interception this season as a second-year starter for the NFC West-leading Niners (8-2-1). As a rookie, his 20 special-teams tackles ranked third in the NFL.
He earned his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro spots last season.
“That’s good, a young guy, a good guy, Pro Bowl, All-Pro guy to be around here another five years,” cornerback Carlos Rogers said.
In addition to Bowman and Willis, the team’s other two starting linebackers are signed at least for the next three seasons — Ahmad Brooks through 2017 and Aldon Smith through 2015.
“We have a chance to do something really special, with all four linebackers being here for the next three years,” Bowman said. “We can make a statement for ourselves and leave a legacy for this defense.”
Bowman is a big reason San Francisco has been so strong stopping the run the past two years. The 49ers rank No. 2 in total defense this week, fourth against the run.
“It’s a good group of linebackers, probably the best in the league,” Rogers said. “If not, they’re right there at the top.”
The 49ers lost running back Kendall Hunter and wide receiver Kyle Williams to season-ending injuries on the very same play during Sunday’s win at New Orleans.
A pair of tough blows for the NFC West-leading Niners (8-2-1) as they prepare for a road game at St. Louis on Sunday three weeks after a 24-24 tie with the Rams on Nov. 11 at Candlestick Park.
Hunter was the second player in two days to be lost for the year after Williams said Monday his 2012 season had ended.
“That was a major hit,” running back Anthony Dixon said Tuesday. “Kyle and Kendall are both go-to guys in our offense.”
Now, Dixon likely will take on a larger role backing up Frank Gore and rookie second-round draft pick LaMichael James is expected to be active, along with top draft pick wide receiver A.J. Jenkins.