Veteran linebacker Ahmad Brooks, once a mainstay of the San Francisco 49ers defense, was cut Friday - a victim of the massive rebuilding process the National Football League team is undergoing.
Harold not only is 10 years younger than Brooks, no two players competing for the same spot have almost as wide a discrepancy in their salaries.
"We feel good about the depth and competition along our defensive front and believe that by making this decision now it will give Ahmad a head start on exploring his options with other teams", Lynch said.
A former Pro Bowl performer, Brooks has spent each of the past eight seasons with the 49ers.
The SAM linebacker position, which lined up on the strong side of the formation, is very similar to a 3-4 outside linebacker Brooks played previously. Brooks also carried a $6.1-million cap hit into the season.
For Brooks, this doesn't seem like it would mark the end of his career. Brooks' actual release may be delayed while the 49ers look to see if there are any suitors for an experienced edge rusher who either has led or tied for the 49ers' team lead in sacks every season since 2013.
"It comes down to the final 53", Shanahan said.
On Thursday, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh discussed both Brooks and Harold. "I mean, they're both built the same". So it's a good problem. That thing's not even close to done, yet. "So for Eli, his athleticism, his violence, his love for the game, that's all been an exciting part for him". And it became apparent Brooks' job wasn't safe when Harold got the start in the second preseason game against the Broncos, while Brooks played with the reserves well into the second half. 13 of those starts came previous year when he contributed 37 tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble on defense.
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