According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, there’s a belief in league circles that the 49ers have “real interest” in Steelers WR Antonio Brown and will be inclined to explore a potential trade for him in the coming months.
However, Florio admits it’s possible there will be more competition for Brown, given that he’s owed $39 million over the next three years of his contract.
Players on the 49ers have been reaching out to Brown on Twitter in recent weeks and they could use a No. 1 receiver of Brown’s caliber.
Over the weekend, Ian Rapoport reported that the Broncos are expected to be “one of many” teams interested in acquiring Brown. Rapoport says that rival GMs believe Pittsburgh could secure “at least” a second-round pick in a trade for Brown.
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports mentioned that Brown is expected to have a robust market that could include the Seahawks, Colts, Saints, 49ers, Packers, and Eagles.
Team sources have told La Canfora that the Ravens, Browns and Patriots are expected to have significant interest in Brown, but there’s “virtually no chance” they would trade him to a rival.
The Steelers would incur a $21 million cap hit by trading Brown, which is typically too prohibitive for a team to take on. However, reports have said Pittsburgh believes they can easily offset the cap hit.
Brown is owed a $2.5 million roster bonus on the third day of the league year, which could work as a deadline of sorts for the Steelers to trade him.
Brown, 30, is a former sixth-round pick of the Steelers back in 2010. He’s currently in the third year of his five-year, $72.71 million contract that included a $19 million signing bonus and stands to make base salaries of $12.625 million and $11.3 million over the next two years of the agreement.
Trading Brown would be really tough for the Steelers, considering that they would take a $21.12 million cap hit by moving him before June 1. After that, the dead money hit drops to $7.04 million with the remainder being carried on their 2020 salary cap.
In 2018, Brown appeared in 15 games for the Steelers and caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns.
We’ll have more regarding Brown as the news is available.