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49ers raise eyebrows with Brooks re-signing

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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By Dan Arkush

Not too many, if any, people close to the Niners would have predicted that Ahmad Brooks would turn out being the first UFA to re-sign with the team, before players considered by most to be bigger re-signing priorities such as QB Alex Smith, CB Carlos Rogers and FS Dashon Goldson. "I didn't see it coming at all," one team insider said of Brooks' new six-year deal worth up to $44.5 million, including $17.5 million guaranteed (which does translate into a reasonable cap charge of a little less than $3 million per year). "For one thing, he's had a checkered past, and a lot of times, he hasn't showed up to camp in the best of shape. But all that really has changed for the better. He's been working out with the rest of the team regularly, appears to have gone out of his way to clean up his act and is no longer brusque and unapproachable, like he used to be. They've said for a while they thought he had Lawrence Taylor-type talent and could be dominant if he ever gets it together."

In addition to registering career-highs in both tackles (50) and sacks (seven) in 2011, Brooks set a single-season franchise-record for most forced fumbles by a linebacker with five and did a stellar job all season sealing the left edge in concert with greatly underrated starting DE Ray McDonald.

With Brooks in the fold, the stage is apparently set for him and 2011 first-round dynamo Aldon Smith to become the Niners' starting OLBs, with 2011 starter Parys Haralson likely taking on a reserve role, and possibly either a release or reduced salary.

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