According to Matt Maiocco, Ahmad Brooks will count $2.85 million against the 49ers’ salary cap in 2012. For all the figures of Brooks’ deal, read Matty’s article here.
Just know that Brooks’ cap figures significantly increase in upcoming seasons, but in 2012 he’ll be a relative bargain.
Here’s how this affects free agency: Currently the Niners have about $23 million in cap space. If they cut Shawntae Spencer, then they’ll have roughly $26 million to spend. If they also cut Parys Haralson, a non-starter and a non-special-teamer, they’ll have roughly $29 million.
The Niners were able to reward their No. 1 free agent (Brooks) with a huge contract, but it’s back-loaded, so they get extra cap room now.
Why do they want extra cap room now?
Could it be they want to make a run at a top-tier wide receiver in free agency, like Mike Wallace or Vincent Jackson?
It’s obvious that the Niners’ biggest need is a deep threat on offense. They don’t have one. If they get one, they will be Super Bowl favorites. If they have the cap space, Jackson or Wallace could be a wise investment.
Here’s my prediction: The Niners will sign Dashon Goldson before free agency, like they did with Brooks. They’ll give Goldson roughly 5 years, $30 million, and the money will be back-loaded, too.
They’ll let Carlos Rogers test the market. In free agency, the Niners’ No. 1 priority will not be to re-sign one of their own players – it will be to sign Mike Wallace. Trent Baalke will be aggressive and get the best deep threat available, and that’s Wallace.
Signing Wallace would also cost the Niners their first-round pick, but so what? There’s no deep threat they could draft at pick 30 who’s as good as Wallace.
Alex Smith will wait to sign so that the Niners can make as competitive an offer to Wallace as possible. That’s how I see the next few weeks playing out.