Fantasy Football News

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Contract Extensions: Niners, Browns Net Long-term Deals with Linebackers

Two notable players have reached agreements on the first two contract extensions of the 2012 off-season. First, it was the Cleveland Browns' inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson agreeing to a five-year, $42.5 million extension yesterday.

Then, earlier today, it was the San Francisco 49ers making a move on outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, signing him to a six-year extension worth $44.5 million ($17.5 million guaranteed).

Jackson, 28, is a product of the University of Maryland, where he won ACC Defensive Player of the Year (2005) and was a two-time All-American (2004, 2005). After being selected 34th overall in the 2006 draft by Cleveland, Jackson combined for just 274 tackles, three sacks and four interceptions in just 48 starts from 2006-09.

However, in 2011 Jackson bounced back from his injury-riddle 2010 campaign with an AFC-leading 158 combined tackles and a career-high 3.5 sacks. Unfortunately Jackson was overlooked for the AFC Pro Bowl squad, but that doesn't take away from his career year in Cleveland.

San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh clearly has a plan for his defense in mind, locking up the overall under-achieving Brooks for the next six years. Not to mention the stack of money they are guaranteed to be throwing his way. But there's no doubting what Harbaugh has in the team-oriented mind of his, considering he turned around the Niners' D from 16th overall in 2010 to 2nd overall this past season.

Brooks does make a great complement playing outside 'backer alongside the likes of Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. Brooks, 27, completed his first full season since entering the league as a third round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2006 Supplemental draft.

Brooks (50 combined tackles, 7 sacks, 1 FF, 3 passes defensed) had a career-year in one of the league's most dangerous defenses. He forced just one turnover all year, but has plenty of room to improve with permanent defensive figures around him (Willis, Bowman, etc.) for the next several years.

Although I wanna say Brooks may be a little overpaid with this extension for the simple fact he's had just one outlandish season so far, I think both will prove to be smart moves by these two teams.

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Sidenote: Now that the NFL Scouting Combine is over, I will start to provide insight on the prospects and draft preview in the coming weeks...including my 2012 Mock Draft!

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