Well, this will certainly make you wake up and take notice:
49ers deep in talks with LB Ahmad Brooks. Deal expected soon in range of 5 years/$35M. He's 1 of many key free agents on D #insideslant— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) February 28, 2012
There had not been a whole lot of chatter about where the 49ers were at with regards to Ahmad Brooks, but this is a pretty significant step forward. Ahmad Brooks was among the team leader in defensive snaps this past season as he finally showed consistency as an every-down outside linebacker. While Parys Haralson platooned with Aldon Smith, Brooks was given the task of handling both run, coverage and pass rush duties.
If the 49ers work out a deal with Brooks, this gets interesting with regards to Smith and Haralson. I have to think the OLB position goes into training camp with the three of them battling for the starting jobs. Brooks would seem to have one side sewn up, while Smith and Haralson battle it out for the other one. If Smith struggles picking up the coverage and other responsibilities, they can go with a repeat of this year while working Smith in a bit further. If Smith shows he can handle all the responsibilities, Haralson could be moved into a depth position.
This is the first acknowledgement of any kind on a possible deal, so we'll wait and see if this plays out all the way. Nonetheless it is quite an interesting first step.