Well, one of the longest tenured members of the San Francisco 49ers is officially gone. The team announced Friday afternoon that they have released linebacker Ahmad Brooks. The move was reported earlier on Friday, and the team likely spent the last couple hours trying to figure out a trade. They had until 1 p.m. PT, and with that time at hand, a deal could not get done. As a vested veteran, Brooks does not go through waivers, and can immediately sign elsewhere.
John Lynch offered this statement:
“We would like to thank Ahmad for his nine years of service and contributions to the 49ers. In that time, he played a significant role on some formidable defensive units that helped this team achieve great success. We feel good about the depth and competition along our defensive front and believe that by making this decision now it will give Ahmad a head start on exploring his options with other teams. We wish him and his family nothing but the best.”
The Brooks release leaves the 49ers four players from their Super Bowl 47 roster. The remaining crew includes NaVorro Bowman, Garrett Celek, Daniel Kilgore, and Joe Staley. The turnover of that roster has been part of the storyline of the 49ers dramatic downfall the past few years. We saw big turnover after Jim Harbaugh departed, and it has slowly moved along since.
This offseason saw the 49ers unload Brooks, Antoine Bethea, Tramaine Brock, and Torrey Smith. The new regime is making significant changes, and it is not surprising veterans have gotten the axe. Brooks will be replaced in the starting lineup by Eli Harold, who is entering his third season in the league. He has spent most of his NFL career up over 260 pounds, after playing in college at near 250. The switch to a 4-3 provided him a chance to lose some weight and get back to a more comfortable level. He has as big an opportunity as anybody on the roster this season.