It would not be a 49ers Sunday without some report or another. Jay Glazer reported this morning that the San Francisco 49ers came close to trading outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks to the Cleveland Browns prior to the trade deadline. Glazer reported the 49ers backed out of the discussions "late", but did not go into much detail beyond that.
The 49ers will welcome back Aldon Smith sometime in the next week or two, and Aaron Lynch has emerged as an impressive pass rushing presence. We've had plenty of discussions here about Lynch eventually taking Brooks's role, but this would seem to indicate the 49ers are comfortable with a Dan Skuta/Aaron Lynch combo opposite Aldon Smith when the latter returns from his suspension. Of course, if they had done the deal, that would have left the team with Skuta, Lynch and Corey Lemonier until Aldon Smith returns. That certainly would have been something, particularly if Aldon does not get back in time for the Saints game next week.
Brooks is taking up a big enough chunk of salary cap space that it makes sense to try and unload him. They would take dead money hits this year and next year, but would clear it out as more players are coming up for new contracts. If Lynch continues to improve, Brooks will remain a potential cap casualty heading into the offseason.