The Seattle Seahawks reportedly were having internal discussions about signing talented, but controversial free-agent wide receivers Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon as recently as this week.
Regardless of how you would view those potential signings, it's difficult to deny that they lend even more weight to Colin Cowherd's theory about the 49ers' dominance.
Essentially, Cowherd believes the recent major moves the other teams in the NFC West have made have been in direct response to San Francisco's ascendance.
"I think the San Francisco 49ers are so formidable," Cowherd said Wednesday on "The Herd," "that it is forcing everybody in their division -- Seattle, the L.A. Rams and Arizona -- to take big swings.
"When you wake up in the morning in that division and you look at San Francisco, you see what appears to be the best young coach in the NFL, the best tight end in the NFL, the best defensive line -- and most are really, really young and getting better. You have a better-than-average young franchise quarterback that could be there for 10 years, and a front office that appears to know what they're doing. It's scary."
"There's a 49er fear in that division. You better take some big chances or you're going to be buried by that avalanche for a long time."@ColinCowherd on the Seahawks reported interest in Antonio Brown or Josh Gordon pic.twitter.com/GRprR7eqsE— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) June 24, 2020
Last season, the Seahawks signed Gordon off waivers in the week before their first matchup with the 49ers. San Francisco was undefeated (8-0) at the time. A few weeks prior, the Rams paid a king's ransom in trading for cornerback Jalen Ramsey. And earlier this offseason, the Cardinals traded for All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins after the 49ers nearly won the Super Bowl.
While all of those players are extremely talented in their own right, Cowherd doesn't view the timing of those transactions as random. Rather, he sees them as attempts by those teams to do what they can to prevent the gap between them and San Francisco from growing any further. He equated it to the SEC's reaction to Alabama coach Nick Saban's dominance and the AFC East's response to the New England Patriots' superiority.
"San Francisco's not going away," Cowherd continued. "They just gave Kyle Shanahan another extension. [Jimmy] Garoppolo got to a Super Bowl in his first full year -- he's 21-5 -- as a starter. [Nick] Bosa is better than we thought he would be in the NFL. George Kittle is unguardable, and all those young receivers like Deebo [Samuel] appear to be getting better by the game.
"So I think at some point, there's a Niner fear in that division. You better take some big cuts and big swings and big chances, or you're gonna be buried by that Niner avalanche for a long time."
The 49ers deservedly have a target on their backs in the NFC West. That likely will only add to the challenge of getting back to the Super Bowl, but you can be sure any of their divisional opponents gladly would trade places.
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