While Green Bay is theoretically set at outside linebacker with Nick Perry and Clay Matthews Jr., signing an edge rusher like Brooks would allow the Packers to move Matthews inside, where he’d likely be an upgrade over Jake Ryan and/or Blake Martinez in nickel packages. Entering his age-33 campaign, Brooks could also be a candidate to play a Julius Peppers-esque role for Green Bay: in such a capacity, Brooks would serve in a rotational basis (Peppers played about a third of the Packers’ snaps in 2016) and focus on pass rushing.
Denver, meanwhile, is in need of depth on the edge given that Shane Ray is doubtful to play in Week 1 due to a wrist injury. Fellow outside ‘backer Shaquil Barrett could hypothetically return from a hip issue in time to play in the Broncos’ season opener, but his availability isn’t a given. While Von Miller clearly locks up one side of the Denver defense, the club would turn to Kasim Edebali, Danny Mason, or Vontarrius Dora, or potentially use second-round rookie DeMarcus Walker in a stand-up role, if Ray/Barrett can’t play Week 1.
Brooks, who was released by San Francisco last week, has 10 years of NFL experience and 98 starts under his belt. Last season, Brooks played the most defensive snaps of any 49ers linebacker (981) and posted 53 tackles, six sacks, and a forced fumble. However, he graded as just the 87th-best edge rusher in the NFL out of 110 qualified players, per Pro Football Focus, has not ranked among the top-20 at his position since 2012.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.