Antonio Brown And The San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers have one of the most athletic receiving groups in the NFL. In the past two years, this group has received passes from four different quarterbacks, proving their adaptability to change while highlighting their potential. While this group is talented, it lacks a big name receiver who can truly break a game open. The Pittsburgh Steelers Antonio Brown is demanding a trade, and while the Steelers are still trying to mend the relationship, it appears to be broken. A number of sources, including Jerry Rice, have said that he is an ideal fit for the 49ers. Should the 49ers give in to the pressure and trade for him?
Rise To Stardom
After being drafted out of Central Michigan University in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Brown found it difficult to adjust to the rigors of the NFL. He only caught 16 passes for 167 yards in his rookie year as the Steelers marched to a Super Bowl appearance.
He exploded on the field the next season with 69 receptions for 1,108 yards but only had two touchdowns. His statistics skyrocketed starting in 2013 when he had 110 receptions with 1,499 yards and eight touchdowns. Starting with the 2013 season he has finished each year with more than 100 receptions.
His best year was in 2015 when he had 136 receptions and an astonishing 1,834 yards to go with 10 touchdowns. His 2018 campaign was filled with trouble on and off the field but he still showed up to play. He finished 2018 with 104 receptions, 1,297 yards, and 15 touchdowns. His current career with the Steelers sits at 837 receptions, 11,207 yards receiving and 74 touchdowns. He had worked hard to rise from obscurity and the NFL recognized his impressive statistics with seven Pro Bowls and five All-Pro teams.
Brown has had several run-ins with the law this past year. In October he faced two lawsuits stemming from the same incident. In that particular incident, he allegedly threw furniture from his 14th story condo. One of the suits states that he almost hit a toddler with some of the items while they were being thrown. He was also pulled over in November for going 100 miles per hour.
Further complicating his legal troubles is a domestic violence allegation in January 2019. In that incident, he was accused of pushing the mother of his child to the ground. The victim refused to go through with the charges and it appears that Brown is off the hook for this incident.
Possible Trade Packages and Repercussions
It was reported on Tuesday that Brown had requested a trade from the Steelers. With a large number of teams salivating over his talent, the 49ers will be in for a fight for his service. However, the 49ers are blessed with high draft picks and a ton of cap space. According to spotrac.com, the 49ers have more than $76 million in available funds. San Francisco is one of the few teams in the NFL with enough cap space to comfortably add him. He will have a cap hit of just over $22 million in 2019, $18.3 million in 20202, and $19.5 million in 2021.
The 49ers also have the second overall pick in the draft and a high second round pick. They could use these picks as leverage by trading picks with other teams, stockpiling lower picks and trading those newly acquired picks for Brown.
As was stated earlier, they also have a number of athletic receivers with much upside. The 49ers could trade one of those receivers, possibly Trent Taylor, along with a selection of draft picks to sweeten the deal.
Due to his various legal issues, there is a possibility the 49ers may not pursue Brown at all. After dealing with players such as Aldon Smith and Reuben Foster, the 49ers brass may not want to deal with another troubled yet talented player. Which begs the question: Is Antonio Brown worth the investment?