Brooks takes initiative to maximize his talents

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Brooks takes initiative to maximize his talents

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SANTA CLARA -- One of the more intriguing aspects of covering a professional football player's career is being there when he gets it, the time he comes to understand exactly what is required for him to be successful at the NFL level.For some, the realization comes within the first two or three years in the league. Others take a few years more. For many, it doesn't come at all.When David Carr was with the 49ers, he told me he thought he knew how to prepare as an NFL quarterback. He believed he was doing everything necessary to be ready for a season. That realization came when he joined the New York Giants. Working with Eli Manning, Carr learned all that his position truly demanded. But by then, Carr said, it was too late. He was a seven-year veteran at the time and his starting opportunities were gone.Like Carr, Ahmad Brooks finally "got it" entering his seventh year in the league."I feel more of a professional now," Brooks said. "And once you get into the NFL you (don't) understand everything it takes to be a professional. I think I learned that over the course of years." What's unique about the 49ers outside linebacker's experience, is that his awareness came together after the best year of he career and after he signed a six year, 37 million contract extension with the team in February.Any off-field issues from early in Brooks' career have remained in the past. But he's made a few key changes over just the last few months. Gone from his diet are his favorite three-course meals home cooked by his mom. He avoided the temptation of her tasty dishes by spending his first offseason at the team facility rather than at his Virginia home. "You can get caught up in being complacent, just going home and not doing anything," Brooks said.Brooks replaced complacency with "initiative," his word, and decided to be with the teammates whom he felt were strong leaders. That included following the intense work out routines of defensive linemen Justin Smith and Ray McDonald and linebacker Tavares Gooden."I feel a lot more in shape on the field play to play just running to the ball. Feeling a little more swift out there," Brooks said.RELATED: Ahmad Brooks career stats 2011 game logs News
Brooks says his bench and squat are up from last season, as is his weight, 5 pounds to 270. But his body fat is down, to 16 percent, he estimates."The best shape of my life," Brooks said, "I dont necessarily think so, but my NFL career, yeah."Vic Fangio certainly hopes so. The defensive coordinator has made it clear he expects a big season from Brooks and believes he can bring more to the 49ers pass rush.The difference for Brooks this year, he believes he can, too.

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

49ers have already spent more in 2017 free agency than a year ago

Under the 49ers’ new regime, the club has already invested more in the free-agent market than a year ago under then-general manager Trent Baalke.

Just a reminder: The free-agent signing period does not officially open until March 9.

The 49ers on Friday reached a contract agreement with veteran defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who is penciled into be a starter in the team’s new 4-3 base scheme under defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

"As soon as Earl hit the open market, he became a priority for us to sign,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in a statement released Saturday morning. “A man of high character, he represents everything we want to be as a football team. Earl is a tone-setter who plays the game with a tremendous passion and the effort necessary to win in this league. We believe those qualities are contagious and will help to make our team stronger. We look forward to the impact Earl will have on the field, in the locker room and in our community.”

It was the first significant move under Lynch, who also signed a player with NFL experience earlier in the week.

The 49ers also added cornerback K’Waun Williams to a one-year contract. Williams served as the Cleveland Browns’ nickel back for two seasons. The Browns released him before the start of last season and he was unable to play due to an ankle injury.

Mitchell was available to be signed before the start of the new league year because the Miami Dolphins released him last week in a move to save the team $4 million in cap space.

Mitchell took four free-agent visits and after wrapping up his tour with the Atlanta Falcons on Friday, he and the 49ers quickly agreed on a four-year, $16 million contract that includes $5.5 million of money in the first year, according to a source.

Last year, Baalke did little to improve the roster for coach Chip Kelly. The 49ers, who finished 5-11 in Jim Tomsula's one season, dropped to 2-14. Just hours after the season concluded, the 49ers announced the firings of Baalke and Kelly.

The only veteran free-agent addition who stepped on the field for the 49ers last season was offensive lineman Zane Beadles. The 49ers signed Beadles in late-March to a three-year, $9.75 million contract with a $1.75 million signing bonus. Beadles had a good season for the 49ers, starting 12 games at left guard, two games at left tackle and the final two games at center.

The 49ers have already shown more willingness to be aggressive under Lynch’s leadership.

Mitchell, 29, is a seven-year veteran who began his NFL career from 2010 to ’13 with the Houston Texans. He was a rookie in Saleh’s final season as assistant linebackers coach in Houston.

Mitchell joins DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Quinton Dial on the 49ers defensive line. The 49ers view Mitchell as a high-energy player who bring good character to the locker room. The signing of Mitchell could be an indication the 49ers are moving on from Glenn Dorsey, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.

With 5.5 sacks in seven seasons, the 49ers do not figure to use Mitchell in passing situations. The club must try to bolster its pass rush in free agency or the draft. Last season, Buckner and Ahmad Brooks shared the team-lead with six sacks apiece. In 2015, Brooks and Aaron Lynch both led the way with 6.5 sacks.

 

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

Source: 49ers agree to four-year deal with former Dolphins DT

The San Francisco 49ers agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with defensive tackle Earl Mitchell on Friday, CSNBayArea.com has learned

Mitchell, 29, will earn $5.5 million in his first year with the 49ers. 

The seven-year veteran played in nine games last season for the Dolphins. He recorded 17 total tackles. 

Since entering the league in 2010 as a third-round draft pick with the Texans, Mitchell has appeared in 100 games between Houston and Miami, totaling 206 tackles. He has also recorded 5.5 sacks.