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NFL rumors: Why Steelers might trade Antonio Brown sooner than later

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NFL rumors: Why Steelers might trade Antonio Brown sooner than later

The Pittsburgh Steelers' season only ended four days ago, but speculation surrounding embattled wide receiver Antonio Brown continues to ramp up.

He may -- or may not -- want to be traded, and Brown himself stoked the flames on social media with plenty of 49ers love.

"I think they would trade him," Schefter told KNBR's "Murph & Mac" on Thursday. "I think -- look, they haven't made a decision. They don't have to make a decision. The new league year doesn't begin until early March. But why would you not trade him when the money is a wash. ... And, when you have somebody walk out on a team like that at a time like they have today, it's a tough thing to do. It really is."

[RELATED: Would 49ers fans prefer Brown or OBJ?]

In the same interview, Schefter said he believed the Steelers would want to trade Brown before he is due a $2.5 million bonus on the fifth day after the NFL offseason officially begins.

Brown, who is coming off of his sixth consecutive season with 100-plus catches and 1,200-plus yards, will carry a $21.12 million dead cap hit if Pittsburgh trades him prior to June 1. If he's traded after, he'd carry hits of $12.04 million and $11.58 million in the next two seasons, respectively. 

Schefter said he doesn't believe that will encourage the Steelers to wait, as he doesn't believe they want to pay Brown more money. So, what might it take a team like the 49ers to acquire Brown?

"If there were a group of [interested] teams, I think the Steelers would definitely get back a [first-round pick]," Schefter told KNBR, citing the Raiders' trade of Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys in October. "If it's not, if it's a smaller group of teams, my sense is that it would be some combinations of picks like a two and a five ... or whatever it may be. It just depends on what the market brings."

The 49ers have picks in every round, save for the fifth and seventh, of the 2019 NFL Draft. Brown is more established than Cooper was, but his age (he turns 31 in July) and the 49ers' needs on the edge might make San Francisco hesitant to trade the No. 2 pick. If Brown can be acquired for less than that, it's hard to imagine the 49ers sitting on the sidelines of trade talks, considering how much they need a top wideout. 

The playoffs haven't even officially started, so there's still time before there will be any sort of closure on Brown. Until that happens, Brown's future will remain a major point of interest. 

NFL rumors: Rams trade Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round pick

NFL rumors: Rams trade Brandin Cooks to Texans for second-round pick

The Los Angeles Rams' rebuild continues.

After releasing former All-Pros Todd Gurley and Clay Matthews during free agency, the Rams continued their roster overhaul by reportedly agreeing to send wideout Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans in exchange for several draft picks, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday citing a source.

LA has been dealing with salary cap issues, trying to find money to pay franchise quarterback Jared Goff, all-world defensive lineman Aaron Donald, defensive back Jalen Ramsey and the other 49 players needed to fill out an NFL roster.

The team still ends up taking a dead cap hit on Cooks in 2020, but at least removes the remaining four years of his deal from the books.

With the departure of offensive weapons Gurley and Cooks along with Matthews’ defensive presence, it will be a very different LA attack the next time the team takes on the 49ers.

[RELATED: Here's what McGlinchey had to say on Staley's 49ers future]

After four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, Cooks struggled through injuries and inconsistency on his way to just 583 receiving yards in 14 games during the 2019 season.

ProFootballTalk reported Thursday that the team already took a financial hit by holding onto Cooks this far into his contract.

With the 49ers aiming to defend their title as NFC champions, the Seattle Seahawks remaining strong and the Arizona Cardinals fleecing Bill O’Brien and those head-scratching Texans for DeAndre Hopkins earlier this spring, there’s a clear new team at the bottom of the NFC West.

If we end up getting an NFL season in 2020, expect the division’s doormat to be in Tinseltown.

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

NFL Draft 2020: Why 49ers could trade up to No. 5 for Jeffrey Okudah

The NFL draft demonstrates to fans just how bold their team’s general managers can be.

Those willing to take a risk and try to move up in the first round sacrifice significant draft capital in exchange for a chance at a home run.

The 49ers happen to be one of those select few teams possessing multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft, giving GM John Lynch an opportunity to make a big splash.

One potential way Lynch could extend San Francisco’s championship window is by fortifying the secondary with Ohio State’s Jeffrey Okudah, writes Bleacher Report’s Marcus Mosher.

In this trade, the 49ers make the bold jump up to secure the former Ohio State Buckeye. But with the 49ers lacking in trade capital this year, they could send picks No. 13, No. 31 and another 2021 third-round selection. 

The 49ers have a win-now roster and could use a stud cover man to pair with Richard Sherman. Okudah is one of the best players in the draft and would give the team another versatile corner who could be used in both man and zone coverage. 

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Okudah is the consensus top defensive back in this year’s draft, combining length to disrupt the passing game with top-line speed, putting up a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Niners came up just short of hoisting the Lombardi trophy in February, despite holding dynamic gunslinger Patrick Mahomes to just 286 yards passing and the lowest postseason quarterback rating of his career.

[RELATED: 49ers' Thieneman teams with non-profit to make ventilators]

Okudah could provide an immediate impact in the secondary on the other side of Richard Sherman, but should the team sacrifice both of its first-round draft picks to fortify a position that is lower on the list of needs for Lynch’s roster?

Many fans likely rather would see the team grab one of this year's seemingly endless crop of talented wide receivers at No. 13 and then waiting and nabbing a cornerback later like TCU product Jeff Gladney at No. 31 overall.

We’ll find out just how bold this 49ers' front office wants to be in exactly two week’s time.