The 49ers defense has a lot of free agents and a lot of roster holes heading into the offseason. They can now cross one problem off their list.
The team announced that outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks signed a six-year deal with the club on Tuesday. The former third-round supplemental pick by the Bengals has played in San Francisco since 2008.
Like many defenders, Brooks had his best season under Jim Harbaugh’s coaching staff in 2011. Brooks started all 16 games and finished third on the team with seven sacks and 59 tackles.
We’ve yet to see final numbers, but NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora reported it could be in the range of $7 million-per-year. It’s hard to know if that per-year figure means anything without seeing the structure and guaranteed money.
Brooks and Aldon Smith will be the two starters at outside linebacker next year. The team may consider releasing Parys Haralson, who is due $2.45 million. The team essentially carried only three outside linebackers all last season.
It seems like a big total for a player that is consistently good, not great. Then again, the next best outside linebacker options in free agency (Jarret Johnson? Manny Lawson? Anthony Spencer?) aren’t very exciting. In Brooks, the 49ers get a known commodity at a high price instead of risking what’s behind door number two.
The team is expected to use the franchise tag on safety Dashon Goldson if necessary. Cornerback Carlos Rogers may leave town, but he should be easier to replace than Brooks.
Once again, NFL teams keep players they truly want.