Antonio Brown’s future with the Pittsburgh Steelers has been a compelling storyline running concurrent to the NFL Playoffs. Brown feuded with long-time QB Ben Roethlisberger and Head Coach Mike Tomlin at the conclusion of the Steeler’s season. The issue between the three parties was elevated when Brown appeared on FOX’s “Masked Singer” while the drama was made public. This culminated with Steeler’s President Art Rooney II saying that it would be “hard to envision” Brown on the team come next season, per Gerry Dulac.
Yesterday, speaking on 95.7 The Game, Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice said that Antonio Brown wants to be a 49er “really bad.” How dangerous would that make the 49ers offense? What will it take to get him to San Francisco?
Brown’s resume to date:
- 7x Pro Bowler
- 5x All-Pro
- 2x Receiving yards leader
- 2x Receptions leader
This past season he had 104 receptions, 1,297 yards, and led the league with 15 receiving touchdowns. The 49ers on the other hand, did not have a receiver with more than 500 yards or 50 receptions. So to say AB would be an upgrade over what they currently have at WR would be a tremendous understatement. Brown would instantly slide into the role that Julio Jones occupied in coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense with the Atlanta Falcons.
Brown, elite tight end George Kittle, a healthy three-down back in Jerrick McKinnon (coupled with 2018 starter and change-of-pace back Matt Breida), and the return of franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo would give the Niners the perfect recipe to have an offense to rival the league’s best in 2019.
The need for Antonio Brown is a no-brainer. Now the 49ers just need to bring him to San Francisco. Brown will be entering the third-year of a 5yr/$72.7 million contract that he signed in 2017, and will carry a cap hit just north of $22 million in 2019. Taking on AB’s contract is not an issue for San Francisco, as it might be for other teams, as they are projected to have over $69 million in cap space. The actual trade of Brown might be the harder part.
The Niners only have two picks in the 2019 NFL Draft that would be of value to the Steelers. The number two overall pick and the 36th pick. The No. 2 pick is too steep a price to pay for a 31-year-old receiver. Even one of Brown’s caliber (arguably the best in the NFL). The Cowboys traded a first-round pick for Amari Cooper, but Cooper is seven years younger and that traded pick will be the 27th in the draft.
The 36th pick should suffice in getting Brown to San Francisco, but if a bidding war for his services ensues, then San Francisco may have to thrown in a future 2nd-round pick as well.
For what its worth, Vegas has released odds for where AB will play next year, and the 49ers are the favorites to land him.
Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire | US Presswire