In a newly illogical edition of "49ers Mailbag", Matt Maiocco says that Brooks' replacement this year will be...Aldon Smith. Maiocco's rationale is that, because Aldon Smith will take on a more full-time role this season, with a full offseason to prepare for every-down play, that the 49ers can let Brooks go and not lose anything. Really, Matt? So who's going to replace Aldon Smith?
Maiocco goes on to reason that Parys Haralson could continue to set the edge on first and second down, and the 49ers can just pull a sack specialist in free agency and/or the draft to take on Smith's 2011 role as a pass rush specialist on passing downs. In other words, instead of finding a replacement for Brooks via the draft or free agency, they can replace Brooks with Smith, because it will be easier to find a replacement for Smith than Brooks. Because if Brooks walks, no matter how you look at it, someone has to be replaced.
In 2011, Brooks had 49 tackles, 7 sacks, and one forced fumble, while playing nearly every defensive snap. Smith, meanwhile, recorded 37 tackles, 14 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles, even though he only played part-time, primarily on 3rd downs. And that's much easier to replace.
By Maiocco's logic, the 49ers should just save millions on the huge contract they'll have to give Smith in a few years (and get an extra high-round draft pick or two) simply by trading Smith now, re-signing Brooks, and drafting another sack specialist in April.
Because 14-sack rookies just grow on trees. Thanks for the brilliant insight, Matt.