With All-Pros Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman manning the middle of the field, the 49ers are set at inside linebacker. On Tuesday, the team ensured that outside linebacker is taken care of as well, reaching a contract extension with Ahmad Brooks on a six-year deal.
Brooks, who started all 16 games for the 49ers last season, will earn approximately $44.5 million over the course of the deal, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson.
Set to enter his seventh NFL season, Brooks is coming off a career year. He registered 50 tackles and seven sacks in 2011 — both career highs — in his first season as a full-time starter. Playing alongside Willis and Bowman, Brooks made solid contributions to a team that reached the NFC title game a year ago.
The way we see it
There were many close to the team who suspected that — with the Niners having more than a few other UFAs they were interested in re-signing, such as QB Alex Smith, CB Carlos Rogers and FS Dashon Goldson — they might have a hard time bringing back Brooks. But he has been a very consistent pass-rushing force as a Niner, as well as a consistent playmaker (he posted a single-season franchise record for most forced fumbles by a linebacker with five in 2011). With Brooks back in the fold, 2011 first-round draft pick Aldon Smith's eventual transition into the starting lineup full time could very well be put on hold for another season.