INDIANAPOLIS -- 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday that he has not talked to the Pittsburgh Steelers about a possible trade for disgruntled wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Moreover, Shanahan said he is not aware of anyone else with the 49ers organization being in contact with the Steelers about the possibility of acquiring the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver.
“Not that I know of,” Shanahan said.
Brown’s trade availability and market value has been one of the big storylines of the NFL offseason. But as the week begins at the NFL Scouting Combine, there is no indication the 49ers are interested in the talented yet problematic player.
The Steelers maintain they will not trade Brown unless they receive proper compensation in return. The 49ers do not appear interested at this point, according to multiple NFL sources.
Yet, the 49ers also appear determined to upgrade many of their position groups this offseason, and wide receiver likely is near the top of the list.
“We’re in the market for anything that makes our team better at every single position,” Shanahan said.
Brown has been a difficult personality for the Steelers off the field. But he has been ultra-productive with six consecutive seasons of at least 100 receptions and 1,200 yards. He turns 32 in July and said last week on social media that he expects to re-work his contract with a new team after a trade to gain some guaranteed money.
Shanahan often has spoken to the importance of adding veteran players who conform to a certain ideal of character, team cohesion and work ethic.
“You take it into account with everything,” Shanahan said. “That’s why you like to deal with people you know and have an idea on. We try to hold everyone accountable on our team. We’re pretty consistent with that.
“So if someone isn’t like that, yeah, we do have a problem with that. I don’t think anyone is good enough to deal with that.”
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said last week that three teams have expressed some level of interest in Brown. On Wednesday, Colbert, without citing specifics, said interest has grown.
“As we are here at the combine, everyone is learning about alternatives to their current team, whatever the position may be,” Colbert said. “You may come away feeling better or you may feel worse, but the one thing that doesn’t change is Antonio Brown’s value, not only to us but to anyone else in the National Football League.
“He is who he is, so we have to weigh that and other teams have to weigh that, and other teams have to weigh that against what alternatives there are. And what their alternatives are will be more clear over the course of this week.”
The 49ers have made the decision to decline the option on veteran receiver Pierre Garçon, whose availability was limited to just 16 games in two seasons.
Dante Pettis is projected as a starter after showing some flashes while battling injuries as a rookie. Pettis, a second-round draft pick, caught 27 passes for 467 yards and five touchdowns.
Kendrick Bourne started eight games, catching 42 passes for 487 yards. The 49ers also would like to create more depth to enable Marquise Goodwin to utilize his speed in a more specialized role.
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“We need some guys to step it up,” Shanahan said. “(We’re) excited about how some of the younger guys ended the year, mainly Pettis and Bourne.
“Bourne was our starting receiver for most of the year, and so was ‘Quise. I want them to take it to another level or I want to bring in people who will get them to take it to another level or I want to bring him people to pass them. That’s just what you do.”