The 49ers edged the Seattle Seahawks by literal inches in the NFC West last season, clinching the division title -- and the NFC's top seed -- because of Dre Greenlaw's last-second tackle in Week 17.
Seattle could try to bridge that gap by bringing in Antonio Brown, as NFL Media's Mike Silver reported Tuesday that the Seahawks are having "internal discussions" about potentially signing the wide receiver.
"I would keep an eye on the Seattle Seahawks," Silver said Tuesday. "Antonio Brown's been doing some offseason workouts with their backup quarterback Geno Smith. They are absolutely interested in having him potentially as a late-season addition, assuming there's a suspension."
NFL Media's Mike Garafolo followed up Silver's report, noting there's a "strong sense" the Seahawks will "take a chance" on Brown or Josh Gordon. Gordon joined Seattle last season, playing just five games before the NFL indefinitely suspended him for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
Brown is under NFL investigation, and the 31-year-old could be suspended for multiple possible violations of the NFL's personal-conduct policy. He pleaded no contest to burglary and battery charges this month, and the New England Patriots released him in September after Brown sent threatening text messages to a woman who accused him of making an unwanted sexual advance. The unnamed Pittsburgh artist came forward to Sports Illustrated after Brown's former trainer, Britney Taylor, filed a lawsuit accusing him of rape.
The receiver played just one game last season, joining the Patriots after the Raiders granted him his release. Brown caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown in his one game with New England. He made at least one of the Pro Bowl or First Team All-Pro in the prior six seasons, catching at least 100 passes for 1,200 yards and eight TDs in each.
Brown played at an elite level much more recently than Gordon, but Brown also turns 32 next month and his off-field actions over the last two years should be more than enough to make teams wary. The receiver reportedly has an admirer in Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, however, which can't be ignored amid Seattle's continued links.
Whether or not Brown can shift the balance of power in the NFC West this season depends on how close he can come to replicating his 2018 performance, let alone his All-Pro form. Brown's effectiveness really won't be known until he plays another NFL game, so the 49ers shouldn't be all that concerned him joining a rival before he returns to the field.
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