The San Francisco 49ers are still trying to rebound from a string of retirements and injuries that have plagued them in recent memory, according to ESPN.com. Ahmad Brooks remains as one of the old figures left from a defense that boasted Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman all hitting their prime. Brooks is 31 and besides being a bit too old for his $9.6 million cap hit, he has off-the-field issues influencing how the 49ers and the rest of the NFL handle him. Brooks was indicted on misdemeanor sexual battery charges in 2015 and was considered to be a player who could be released last season thanks to these charges. The 49ers were too deficient at linebacker and couldn't afford to let him go, however not much has changed since then.
Now the 49ers are more focused on stockpiling cap space than aging vets who could face additional disciplinary action from the NFL. Brooks recorded 42 combined tackles, 6.5 sacks, one pass defense and played/started in 14 games during the 2015 NFL season. A de-escalator has been activated in Brooks' contract, according the San Francisco Sun Times, which changes his cap hit from $9.605 to $8.005 million while lowering his salary. The 49ers are likely just waiting until June so they can maximize the amount of money they save on his release. If released post-June 1, the 49ers can save $5,656,250, but if he's released beforehand, the 49ers could only save a maximum of $4,807,500.
The 49ers are far closer to rebuilding than a Super Bowl, so Brooks' release could trigger others as a new coaching regime looks to return the 49ers to greatness, according to 49ers.com.