The San Francisco 49ers are set to make a pretty huge roster move. The team is expected to cut outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Matt Barrows reported it from multiple sources, and I have heard from a source that this is happening. Brooks was entering his tenth season with the team, and was entering the final year of his contract.
Brooks entered training camp seemingly in firm control of the SAM outside linebacker role. He started the first preseason game, but then things took a turn last week. Eli Harold, who missed some of training camp with a concussion, took over first team SAM snaps last week in practice. Harold then played first team snaps in the Week 2 preseason game against the Denver Broncos. This week, the team transitioned to closed team drills, so media could not see who was playing where on the depth chart.
The move is not entirely surprising with the new regime, but it is still a bit of a stunner. We have been talking about the team moving on from Brooks every offseason, pretty much since not long after he signed his contract extension. He avoided getting cut throughout this, and even in spite of some serious question marks about his personal character. He likely had a bit of a fresh start with the new regime, but the roster overhaul continues.
Eli Harold would seemingly officially be slotted in as the starting SAM linebacker for this season. It’s a big opportunity for the third-year linebacker, who was able to lose some weight and get back to a more comfortable position. Harold is signed through 2018, and can start negotiating a contract extension after this coming season. If he proves himself in the SAM role, maybe he ends up one of the first incumbent 49ers under John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan to land a contract extension.