Source: Brooks' salary 'de-escalates' by $1.6 million
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Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks had an impressive season. But it was not good enough prevent him from a "de-escalator" clause in his contract that reduces his salary in 2013.

According to an NFL source, Brooks scheduled 2013 base salary of $4.3 million was lowered to $2.7 million because he did not meet certain requirements. His salary cap figure falls from $6.65 million to $5.05 million. Even with the money saved from Brooks' deal, the 49ers are currently bumped up against the projected 2013 cap of approximately $121 million.

After the 49ers' win in the NFC Championship Game, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh commented on the team's ability to sign Brooks to a six-year contract extension that included a $7.5 million signing bonus. He is signed through the 2017 season.

"(Defensive coordinator) Vic Fangio made the comment the other day, 'The smartest thing we did as an organization was pay Ahmad Brooks and keep him as a 49er,' " Harbaugh said. "We would all concur with that."

The "de-escalator" would have voided if the 49ers had won 12 games in the regular season and Brooks had played 93.2 percent of the 49ers' defensive snaps. The 49ers finished 11-4-1, and Brooks took part in 92.2 percent of the play time. Brooks finished with 6.5 sacks, down from seven in 2011. He had an interception return for a touchdown, a career-high 74 tackles and forced two fumbles.

Brooks has "up to" $2.5 million in de-escalators in his contract over the final four years of his deal.