"We would like to thank Ahmad for his nine years of service and contributions to the 49ers," team general manager John Lynch said in a statement. "In that time, he played a significant role on some formidable defensive units that helped this team achieve great success. 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. We wish him and his family nothing but the best."
"Ahmad can still do things," coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters shortly after the release. "I think everyone knows that and he's going to help somebody this year. But it really comes down to the final 53. And I'm starting to get a better feel for what that is now. And it's taken me some time, it's taken John [Lynch] and me some time, because we got to know what our group was like and it's really been nothing against Ahmad.
"It's how are we going to get 53 guys on this team -- the right type of 53 guys. You think of guys that might not be as good in Week 1, but you think they'll be ready in Week 3. What gives you the best chance to win in Week 1 and Week 8 and Week 16. You've got to play all that into account."
Although Brooks appears to be in the twilight of his career, he likely won't be a free agent for long.