49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks’ 2013 salary to decrease by $1.6 million

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

During Super Bowl week, "Shutdown Corner" posted a few updates regarding players who had earned base-salary escalators in their current contracts. The largest increase belonged to Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, whose 2013 salary will increase by $3.3 million, going from $6.2 million to $9.5 million next season.

Occasionally, contracts can work the other way as teams, like the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, for example, will include de-escalators in their player contracts. That was the case for 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks, a source with knowledge of the veteran linebacker's deal has confirmed.

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Brooks was kept off the unrestricted free-agent market last offseason with a six-year extension that had a maximum value of more than $40 million and up to $17.5 million in partially guaranteed money. In the first year of that contract, Brooks took home $8.85 million in total cash compensation that was comprised of a $7.5 million signing bonus, $750,000 base salary, $500,000 in "per game active" roster bonuses and a $100,000 workout bonus. Brooks was scheduled to earn a $4.3 million base salary in 2013, which is guaranteed for injury only, but will become fully guaranteed if he's on the 49ers' roster on April 1.

However, Brooks' contract includes language that would decrease his base salary and his base salary guarantee by up to $2.5 million in 2013 depending on the number of sacks he produces in 2012. Brooks had 6.5 sacks in 2012, which has reduced his base salary and base salary guarantee by $1.6 million, dropping his once $4.3 million base salary to $2.7 million for next season.

The 49ers did include a way for Brooks to void the decreases, but all three criteria had to be reached in order to preserve his original salary.

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In order to void the de-escalator language, the 49ers needed to win 12 games during the 2012 season. The 49ers only lost only four of their 16 regular season games, but a 24-24 tie to the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 11 and a 16-13 overtime loss to the Rams on Dec. 2 prevented the 49ers from winning the required 12 games.

Brooks was also required to have a playing-time percentage of 93.2 in the regular season. According to official playing-time documents, the 49ers had 1,060 defensive snaps in 2012 and Brooks was on the field for 977 of those plays, resulting in a playing-time percentage of 92.17. Brooks would have needed a dozen more snaps to reach 93.2 percent playing-time.

The last component was reached when the 49ers played in the NFC championship game, but Brooks' salary was already subject to the de-escalators when the other two criteria were not met. The same language applies to the other four seasons (2014-17) in Brooks' current contract.

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