Antonio Brown trade: 49ers GM John Lynch says he hasn't spoken to Steelers

Antonio Brown trade: 49ers GM John Lynch says he hasn't spoken to Steelers

INDIANAPOLIS – The 49ers have generally been regarded as the perfect fit landing spot for Antonio Brown, according to social media.

Jerry Rice has lobbied for Brown, the disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, to join the 49ers. Tight end George Kittle reached out to Brown via Twitter. And Brown has reciprocated, posting photos of himself in a photo-shopped 49ers jersey.

Meanwhile, the 49ers’ decision-makers have not taken any steps toward acquiring Brown, other than doing their due diligence on the seven-time Pro Bowl player.

General manager John Lynch said Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine the 49ers have not reached out to the Steelers to inquire about the possibility of a trade.

“We have not,” Lynch said. “We have not.”

Brown, 30, has been at the center of one controversy and drama after another in recent seasons.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said the number of interested teams has grown beyond the three teams he referenced last week.

So why are the 49ers apparently not interested at this point?

“I’ll just leave it as, he’s a great player; we got a ton of respect for Antonio,” Lynch said.

Up to this point, only wild speculation and activity on social media have connected the 49ers with Brown.

“It’s funny the world we live in, where one tweet from one player to another turns into interest and all of that,” Lynch said. “But, hey, that is the world we live in. I can tell you that, like every team in this league, we think the guy is a heck of a football player. But we have not talked with the Steelers, I can tell you that.”

[RELATED: Odell Beckham Jr. isn't on trade market, either]

Lynch takes it as a compliment to the organization that a player of Brown’s caliber appears to be so interested in joining the 49ers despite coming off 6-10 and 4-12 seasons under Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan.

“I’m flattered every time, despite only winning 10 games in two years, that a lot of people seem to want to come and be a part of what we’re doing,” Lynch said. “I think we all know the reality that to keep that feeling, we better start winning some football games on a consistent basis. But I am flattered that there seems to be a want from NFL players to be a part of what we’re doing.”

Kwon Alexander will fill Reuben Foster's void, John Lynch believes

Kwon Alexander will fill Reuben Foster's void, John Lynch believes

49ers general manager John Lynch acknowledged that he signed Kwon Alexander to fill the void left by former 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster, who was released last season. 

In an interview with 49ers.com, Lynch spoke about how he and his staff brought back several familiar faces to the linebackers room. He was also very frank about what the team lost in Foster as a player. 

“Let’s be honest,” Lynch said. “We had a void that we thought we had filled with Reuben Foster. Things transpired there. We had a void there and that stinks but you can’t just sit there and pout, you gotta say ‘OK, let’s do something.'

“We needed a dynamic football player at that position. It’s a very critical position in our scheme and this became the guy. Kwon became the guy that we wanted to be that guy.” 

Alexander has many of the same on-field characteristics as Foster. He’s known as a hard hitter who flies around the field, making players think twice about going across the middle. He may make some mistakes in the game, but his passion and heart are recognized by his teammates. 

“I think what stood out to us with Kwon,” Lynch said, “he’s a dynamic football player. He’s a tone setter. You need tone-setters on your defense. 

“I think he’s a guy that when you watch him, when you talk to people who played against him, people who played with him, he’s exactly that. His type of play running all over the field, hitting people, getting the ball, it’s contagious. We need that.” 

The 49ers' admiration for Alexander grew as they did more research on him. They understand it may take some time before he returns to 100 percent health.

[RELATED: Kwon Alexander overcame tragedy, adversity]

“The more we watched him the more we liked,” Lynch said. “We knew he was coming off an ACL injury but we got comfortable with the medical part and also got comfortable with 'Hey, we are going to wait as long as it takes.' This is a long-term investment. He’s doing very well in his rehab.” 

The staff ideally would like to see Alexander lined up next to Fred Warner, who had a stand-out rookie season. They also brought back Elijah Lee, special teams contributor Mark Nzeocha, and signed ex-Panther David Mayo to a two-year contract to fill out the linebackers room.

Top NFL draft prospect Josh Allen thinks he's best player available

Top NFL draft prospect Josh Allen thinks he's best player available

Josh Allen does not lack confidence.

The edge rusher out of Kentucky, who is linked to both the 49ers with the No. 2 pick and Raiders at No. 4 in next month's NFL draft, spoke highly of his abilities during his pro day Friday.

"You can just watch the film, watch the games," Allen told ESPN on Friday. "If you're talking about stats, I mean, I finished second in the nation in sacks, playing in the SEC, which doesn't throw the ball as much as other conferences.

"I'm physical. I played the whole season. I played every game. I'm healthy. I just think I'm the best edge rusher, the best pass rusher, the best overall player in this draft."

OK then.

Allen put up tremendous numbers in his senior season at Kentucky, totaling 17 sacks and 88 tackles, including 56 solo. The 49ers and Raiders both desperately need someone who can rush the quarterback, so Allen fits the mold for both teams.

Allen told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that he has scheduled pre-draft meetings with both the 49ers and the Raiders.

The latest speculation is that the 49ers will draft Ohio State edge rusher Nick Bosa with the No. 2 pick, as the Cardinals -- who own the No. 1 pick -- have been heavily linked to Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. If both Bosa and Allen are available to the 49ers, GM John Lynch will have his pick of the two edge rushers.

[RELATED: Draft prospect Quinnen Williams dined with 49ers at IHOP]

The Raiders, meanwhile, have to wait until No. 4 to see if Allen is still available. If both the Cardinals and 49ers pass on the Kentucky standout, only the Jets at No. 3 would stand in their way of getting -- as Allen puts it -- "the best overall player in the draft."

Time will tell whether Allen lives up to his bold proclamation. But it seems as if the 49ers or Raiders would be lucky to find out.