The 49ers have been in discussions with linebacker Ahmad Brooks’ representation about a contract extension, according to sources. As much as the 49ers would like to hammer out a long-term deal, there is no pressing need to get it accomplished immediately.
Brooks is believed to be one of several players with whom the 49ers are interested in working out long-term agreements. Brooks’ case is especially interesting because of the difficult of finding comparables.
For instance, Brooks . . .
–Is a four-year veteran who has yet to play a full season. He has appeared in just 27 games with seven starts, five of which came as a rookie with the Bengals.
–He made the transition last season from inside linebacker to outside linebacker/defensive end after not getting on the field for his first 18 games with the 49ers.
–He did not earn a role as the team’s “starting” nickel pass rusher until the 10th game of the season.
–He recorded six sacks, five of which came in the final five games of the season. Was he that good or were his legs just more fresh than the players assigned to block him?
Assuming there is no new CBA (and that’s a pretty safe assumption at this point), Brooks will be a restricted free agent on March 5. The 49ers could tender him a one-year contract. But this might be a good time to get lock him up to a long-term deal. With a productive full season in 2010, his stock would rise dramatically.
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The 49ers will have use of the franchise tag of approximately $7 million to make sure nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin remains on the team in 2010.
The club can also use the franchise tag in future seasons on tight end Vernon Davis (signed through 2010) and/or inside linebacker Patrick Willis (signed through 2011). A lot have asked, “Why don’t they just sign Willis to a contract extension now?”
Willis scheduled to make just $760,000 in base salary in 2010, so you would think his side would want to get something accomplished to cash in on his three Pro Bowl seasons. From the team’s standpoint, the trick is finding the right number that balances with the rest of the roster. After all, inside linebackers typically are near the bottom of player salaries. But, as we all know, Willis is not a typical inside linebacker.
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