The 49ers might be in position to strike a trade for Antonio Brown after all.
Drew Rosenhaus, Brown's agent, told the Steelers his client still wants to be traded, sources told CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora. Although the Steelers hoped their relationship with the star wide receiver would improve after the end of the regular season, La Canfora reported that things have only gotten worse.
"Brown has refused to return calls from [Steelers owner Art Rooney III] and several others in the organization," La Canfora wrote, "and has been telling Steelers teammates for weeks that he does not intend to ever play for the team again."
The Steelers reportedly are now focused on dealing the seven-time Pro Bowler, and will start talking to teams at this month's scouting combine in Indianapolis. Their preference is to trade Brown out of the AFC, according to La Canfora.
That's good news for the 49ers. Brown has not been shy about wanting to join up with Jimmy Garoppolo and co. since the end of the regular season.
He tweeted with San Francisco tight end George Kittle, followed 49ers-related accounts on social media and even Photoshopped himself in a 49ers jersey. Brown also has a longstanding relationship with Jerry Rice, and he sought advice from another 49ers legend in Terrell Owens.
None of that will sway the Steelers into trading Brown to the 49ers, as San Francisco's available salary-cap space (about $60.7 million, per Over The Cap) and collection of draft picks (in all but the fifth and seventh rounds) are what matter most in getting a deal done. Still, the 49ers have a clear need for a top wide receiver, and their presence in the NFC West would check what reportedly is a major box for the Steelers.
Whether or not that's enough to bring Brown to San Francisco remains to be seen.