The San Francisco 49ers signed Ahmad Brooks to a six-year contract extension back in 2012, and since then, there have been all sorts of adjustments to the deal. He has dealt with de-escalators, and in 2014, he restructured the deal. Now, he is dealing with another de-escalator. His 2017 salary has been reduced from $6.95 million to $4.45 million.
With this adjustment, the 49ers are looking at $80,686,024 in cap space with a $168 million cap. The NFL will not announce the 2017 cap until March, but there are reports it will be between $166 million and $170 million.
The de-escalators in Brooks’ contract are not entirely clear, but they are based on a combination of sacks and playing time. Based on what I’ve seen in the past, he saw de-escalations in 2015 and 2016.
With the de-escalation, Brooks’s salary cap number is now $6,148,750 for 2017. If the 49ers were to cut Brooks, they would save $5.3 million in cap space and carry a dead money hit of $848,750.
It seems like every year we are discussing whether or not the 49ers should or will cut Brooks. This year, he is entering the final year of that contract extension. The obvious reason for cutting Brooks is his play, as he did not fully live up to that big extension he received.
He has been a solid player, and in 2016, he was one of the better players on the much maligned defense. That’s a low bar, but he has been a fairly steady performer. However, it’s a little much to keep an aging outside linebacker for that kind of money. The team has plenty of cap space, but if they could sign a younger player like Los Angeles Chargers free agent Melvin Ingram, it makes a world of sense to make the change as part of this massive rebuilding process.
There is still an argument for keeping Brooks. He remains an effective player, and even though he is not spectacular, the 49ers are still searching for answers. He is a veteran presence on a defense with a lot of growing to do. If the team cannot find another pass rushing answer, I could see the 49ers keeping him for this last season of his contract.
I want to note, that I believe that it’s best to not release any potential cap casualties before the team has a suitable replacement either signed, or agreed to a deal.
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.