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Buckle up, 49ers fans. This is going to be a long offseason.
It is no secret that seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown wants out of Pittsburgh. And at this point, it’s fair to say he wants to join the 49ers.
After weeks of public disgruntlement with the Steelers, cyber flirting with 49ers players, and FaceTime calls with Jerry Rice, Brown has displayed his apparent love for Rice and the 49ers once again. On Friday morning, Brown posted an Instagram photo sporting a 49ers jersey and standing alongside Rice.
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There’s only one problem: he’s not a free agent. Brown is under contract with the Steelers through the 2021 season.
This is ultimately the Steelers’ choice. Owner Art Rooney II has said it would be “hard to envision” Brown returning to Pittsburgh for the 2019 season, but he recently mentioned sitting down with Brown to hear his thoughts, easing the tension a bit.
Even if the Steelers are committed to shipping Brown, teams will have to pay a hefty price. Check out his contract situation below, courtesy of Spotrac.
The 49ers could use a premier receiver to bolster a passing attack that was frequently one-dimensional with tight end George Kittle. The team’s leading wide receiver, Kendrick Bourne, posted 487 yards, the 97th-most in the NFL in 2018.
Brown, with six straight 100-catch seasons, would undoubtedly add another element to the 49ers offense. It seems he wants that to happen. But several things have to go right for him to ultimately end up a 49er.