The Antonio Brown trade rumors are not going away any time soon.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Pittsburgh Steelers are now expected to hear trade offers for their disgruntled wide receiver prior to the start of free agency.
Brown missed the Steelers’ Week 17 game after a reported spat with his teammates and coaching staff, and speculation has run wild that he might want to continue his career elsewhere.
The 30-year-old receiver is due to collect a $2.5 million roster bonus on March 15 -- the third day of the 2019 league year -- and thus any trade involving him will likely occur before then.
ESPN's Adam Schefter later reported that the Steelers are expected to restructure quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's contract, which frees up more salary cap space and makes trading Brown more palatable.
The 49ers, of course, have been linked as a possible suitor for Brown ever since trade rumors began. Brown has followed the 49ers on social media and shown love for 49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle.
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The 49ers have long been searching for a true No. 1 receiver, and Brown would surely fit the mold. The nine-year veteran has been the model of consistency, posting six straight seasons with more than 100 receptions and 1,200 yards.
However, the price for San Francisco to acquire Brown is sure to be steep. Rapoport cites two NFL general managers who believe it would take a first-round pick to acquire him; another GM said “multiple high picks.”
The 49ers have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft, as well as the No. 36 pick. Would either of those draft picks -- or both -- be enough to pry Brown from Pittsburgh?
We shall see ...
The 49ers have 184 players on their draft board.
It is a lower number of prospects than the 49ers have listed in the three seasons with John Lynch as general manager. Lynch said it speaks to the belief that it is going to be more difficult for a rookie to come in and win a roster spot this season.
[RELATED: 49ers strongly considering Williams at No. 2]
The 49ers have a scheduled six draft picks, a number that might change as the 49ers determine over the course of the three-day selection meeting whether to end up with fewer players due to trade-ups or attempt to move back to acquire more players.
If they stay where they’re scheduled to choose, the 49ers' draft could look something like this:
VIEW ENTIRE SEVEN-ROUND MOCK DRAFT HERE
The 49ers have announced that DeMarcus Cobb, son of the late Reggie Cobb, will announce the team’s second-round pick of the 2019 NFL Draft alongside San Francisco alum Earl Cooper.
General manager John Lynch opened up his pre-draft media availability with a heartfelt message about the longtime scout. He spoke about the effect that Cobb had, not only in the 49ers building, but around the league as well.
“The outpouring from the league has just been unbelievable,” Lynch said. “The scouts, the coaches, GMs. He touched the NFL community and I think far beyond that. We’re finding out more and more each minute with the correspondence we’re having with people.”
Lynch also hinted that DeMarcus would be involved in honoring his father with the team in some form. They will also keep his seat in the draft room empty the entire weekend.
Cobb was the western regional scout for the 49ers for the past 11 seasons after spending six years with the Buccaneers as an area scout. He had a seven-season career in the NFL that included one year as a teammate of Lynch in Tampa Bay.
Lynch elaborated on how Cobb’s work will influence how the 49ers draft evolves this week.
[RELATED: 49ers strongly considering Williams with No. 2 overall pick]
“Reggie’s imprint will be on this draft,” Lynch said. “He worked incredibly hard, as he always did in the preparation for it. I’d love nothing more than to be able to take a player that he scouted hard.
“We have enough cross checks and all that, that he’ll have his imprint on this draft in some form or fashion. Certainly, by the way, he just had a spirit about him that was something special.”