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.”

NFL rumors: League seeks to add seventh playoff team in each conference

NFL rumors: League seeks to add seventh playoff team in each conference

The NFL’s playoff structure is expected to change to reportedly include seven teams in both conferences to advance to the postseason.

The current proposal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, would add one playoff team in each conference and only the top seed in the AFC and NFC would be rewarded with byes in the first round of the playoffs.

The changes to the playoff format would take effect this season when the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified. ESPN reports there is “mounting optimism” the new CBA will be agreed upon within the week.

Through last season, the top six teams in both conferences made the playoffs. If the playoff proposal had been in effect last season, the Los Angeles Rams and Pittsburgh Steelers would have advanced to the playoffs as the Nos. 7 seeds.

As the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the 49ers would have still earned a first-round bye in the playoffs. But the Green Bay Packers, the No. 2 seed, would have played in the extra game against the Rams. If the Rams were to have upset the Packers in the wild-card round, the 49ers would have played Los Angeles in the NFC Divisional Playoff instead of the Minnesota Vikings.

But the new proposal would have had an even more major impact in the AFC, where the Kansas City Chiefs would have been forced to win three games in the playoffs just to advance to the Super Bowl.

"That's been agreed to for a long time," one source familiar with the CBA talks told ESPN about the NFL's new playoff structure. "There wasn't a lot of disagreement to that issue."

[RELATED49ers roster analysis: More receiver depth needed around Deebo Samuel]

Players on the top team in each conference will receive postseason pay for the bye weekend, unlike years past, according to the report.

Also, ESPN reported that the sides are also trying to work through a proposal for a 17-game regular season, while the exhibition season is shortened to three games. The earliest that change could occur would be the 2021 season, according to the report.

Deebo Samuel pleas for 49ers to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders in free agency

Deebo Samuel pleas for 49ers to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders in free agency

Before the 49ers officially had lost Super Bowl LIV to the Kansas City Chiefs, tight end George Kittle was already preaching they would be back next year.

But it didn't stop with him.

49ers players throughout the roster already are thinking of everything they can do to make another run at it, and that includes bringing back free-agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

Fellow wideout Deebo Samuel made it clear Wednesday on Twitter that he wants to see the 49ers bring back the 32-year-old veteran.

Sanders showed his appreciation later Wednesday morning.

After coming over from the Denver Broncos via trade in October, Sanders excelled with the 49ers. He caught 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns in the regular season, and added five receptions for 71 yards in the postseason.

But Sanders could have been an even more critical part of 49ers lore, had it not been for Jimmy Garoppolo's overthrown pass with less than two minutes remaining in Super Bowl LIV. But it was not meant to be.

Sanders has been open about his love for the team that had just barely missed the championship and has spoken out about those second-guessing him due to his age. 

The receiver laughed at the fact that he has been "flying past 23-year-olds," and exhorted that he still has plenty of good years left in him.

[RELATED: Sanders offers advice to teammates playing in first Super Bowl]

He also embraced the youth the other wide receivers brought to the team, such as Samuel and Kendrick Bourne. Sanders loved the loose vibes of the 49ers' locker room and assisted the younger players in prepping for the big moments of the Super Bowl. 

Deebo surely noticed that and knows he wants his teammate back for the team's quest to make another Super Bowl run next season.