Disclaimer - This is not a post about salary cap ramifications and/or breaking down the specifics of Brooks new contract. I wanted to write something about what I think the contract itself along with the way it was handled speaks to the state of the 49ers and their overall philosophy when it comes to managing the roster.
I have always like Ahmad Brooks as a player. I felt that for whatever reason he was buried on the depth chart and destined to never get an opportunity to show his skills and then move on to another team or toil on/near the bottom of the depth chart. He was given an opportunity and seized it. Now he was been rewarded with a new contract this week that could keep him in the San Francisco until 2017. By all reports he potentially took less money to stay in SF and not hit free agency, which speaks volumes as to the state of the 49ers.
I believe that this signing is yet another example of the new 49ers regime making their philosophy very clear to us all. They are going to take care of their own above all others. They are not going to make big splashes into the free agent market. In the past few years they have rewarded the following players with extensions/new deals:
- Joe Staley
- Patrick Willis
- Vernon Davis
- Frank Gore
- Ray McDonald
- Ahmad Brooks
All of these players (with the exception of Brooks) were drafted by San Francisco. I believe that these players represent the core of the team and are prime examples of what the 49ers are trying to do under Baalke. All of these players are "team" first guys that care about winning above all else.
Willis and Davis are the unquestioned heart and soul of the team. They have been here during the bad times and are now veteran leaders on a team with a future as bright as any in the league. There is no question that these two should have long term deal at top dollar.
I beleive that there is a lot of parallels between Davis and Brooks. Both players were brought on board because of their immense potential and ability. Both had a lot of growing up to do once they tasted what the fame and fortune that the NFL can offer. Davisand Brooks have both turned the corner and are now true professionals and are examples to others. These two more so than the others represent players who have not only succeded in exceling on the field but have grown as people off the field. This type of player is at the core of the type of team/family atmosphere the 49ers are building.
The 49ers are becoming a team with such a strong core of leaders that players will have no choice to 100% buy in to what they are striving to acheive. I believe that players will want to come play for San Francisco to be a part of this. All the players above are examples of guys that have come in, worked hard to be successful and have begun to taste the fruits of their labors. But they all realize what it takes to get to where they want to go.
The last two major free agent signings that I can recall are Nate Clements and Justin Smith. Both of these players were signed from other teams by the previous regime. A lot of people were/are not happy with Clements (I for one thought he was good and worth it, but I am in the minority) and Justin Smith is obviously one of the better signings the 49ers have ever had.
I do not expect the 49ers to make a major signing in free agency this year or in any subsequent year for that matter. They have built from the inside out and will continue to supplement the roster with mid tier veterans that fit what the 49ers are doing. I think that getting guys that fit in the locker room is more important than on the field talents.
What this means for Rodgers and Goldson remains to be seen. I think that Rodgers will be presented with a 3 year deal at average money for CB as Baalkefeels that Rodgers is a 49er type of guy. Goldson will be probably be franchised and then probably walk after next year for more money than the 49ers are willing to play.
So more than anything the Brooks contract signifies a clear change in philosophy. The 49ers are committed to taking care of their own and I could not be happier about this.