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Ahmad Brooks salary de-escalates $1.6 million

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Will the San Francisco 49ers release Brooks at some point? His salary is a bit more manageable, but he is likely still a cap casualty candidate.

The San Francisco 49ers have added a little more salary cap space for 2016. A source has told me Ahmad Brooks will see his base salary decrease by $1.6 million due to a de-escalator in his contract. He was due to earn a base salary of $6.5 million in 2016, but now will earn $4.9 million.

Brooks signed a six-year deal back in 2012 that included a variety of escalators and de-escalators connected to sack totals and/or playing time. We never learned the specifics of what caused the salary to go up or down, but it has gone down several times during the course of the contract. Brooks restructured his contract in 2014, but some of the de-escalators remained in place.

Brooks finished the 2015 season with 6.5 sacks, while playing 65.2 percent of defensive snaps. He was inactive for two games, and the 49ers did try and mix in some rotation around him. That likely cost him the kind of snaps he needed to avoid the de-escalation of his salary.

The de-escalation drops Brooks's cap figure from $9.605 million to $8.005 million. That savings means the 49ers now sit at $57,525,518 in cap space, based on a potential $155 million salary cap. That also includes the 2015 carryover amount of $12,206,688.

Although Brooks's contract becomes a bit more manageable, I still believe that he is a candidate to be released. He remains productive, but the team could save a sizable chunk of cap space by releasing him. They have the room to keep him, but at some point they would seemingly look to get younger at the OLB position.

Here are the cap ramifications for a potential Brooks release in light of his lower 2016 base salary.

Pre June 1 Cut

2016 Savings: $4,807,500
2016 Dead Money: $3,197,500

Post June 1 Cut

2016 Savings: $5,656,250
2016 Dead Money: $2,348,750
2017 Dead Money: $848,750

As always you can follow me on Twitter, @Jay_AB81, or check our salary cap section here, on Niners Nation, which is now officially the exclusive home for my salary cap information.