A large portion of the 49ers fan base, including Jerry Rice, might have wanted Antonio Brown.
The 49ers’ decision-makers, however, did not even make any attempt to acquire Brown in the offseason.
Months later, there is nobody with the 49ers who might be regretting that decision. Brown is the Raiders’ problem, and that is just fine with the people in Santa Clara.
What is clear is that the 49ers’ research on Brown prompted them to come to the conclusion that he did not fit into what they were trying to build – regardless of the talent and production he brings to any organization.
At least one person in the 49ers’ organization was told of a time in which Brown informed a Pittsburgh Steelers assistant coach during warmups that he did not plan on doing any blocking on that particular day. That was about all the 49ers had to hear about Brown to take a hard pass.
The 49ers were in the market for an explosive wide receiver during the offseason. They made a concerted effort to work with the New York Giants on acquiring Odell Beckham. The 49ers thought they had a good offer on the table, but the Giants decided instead to work out a deal with the Cleveland Browns.
The only veteran receiver the 49ers added in the offseason was Jordan Matthews, who did not make it past the final cuts. Matthews became expendable when the 49ers devoted two of their top three draft picks to wide receivers.
The club selected Deebo Samuel in the second round and Jalen Hurd in the third round. Hurd is considered “week to week,” coach Kyle Shanahan said, due to a back condition that’s been an issue for three weeks.
Samuel, meanwhile, is expected to have a major role in the team’s passing game, beginning Sunday when the 49ers open the regular season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Things did not go exactly to plan for the 49ers, as they set out to improve their group of wide receivers. But Brown was never in the plan, and that is one decision that requires no second-guessing.