The 49ers have an obvious need at wide receiver, and that was before they decided to move on from Pierre Garcon last week.
There's been an abundance of reports regarding current Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown's displeasure with the Steelers, as well as his potential fit with the 49ers, and their publicly professed appreciation for his talents.
Still, Brown can't seem to stay out of the news these days, and usually for the wrong reasons. It's unclear if that would make him less attractive to San Francisco, or more, in that his trade price could theoretically drop further.
If the 49ers are intent on acquiring a star receiver this offseason, they aren't necessarily limited to Brown. In fact, a pairing with the Giants' Odell Beckham Jr. -- who, at 26 years old, is considerably younger than Brown -- could make more sense for San Francisco, and be less messy.
According to a report from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the 49ers remain interested in acquiring the Giants' dynamic receiver. And, New York may be more willing to listen to offers now than they have been in the past.
"The 49ers have had real interest in Beckham for nearly a year," Florio writes. "The only question is whether the Giants are willing to pull the trigger. As reflected by last week’s bold offseason prediction from Jay Glazer, the Giants may indeed be ready to do so."
So, what would it cost San Francisco in a trade for Beckham Jr.? The 49ers hold the second and 36th overall picks in the upcoming NFL draft, but Florio insists some additional compensation would likely be headed back to San Francisco if they gave up their top overall selection.
"The No. 2 overall selection would seemingly be a high price to pay, possibly requiring the Giants to send maybe a third- or fourth-round pick back to the 49ers to balance it all out."
If the 49ers choose not to throw their chips in on either Brown or Beckham Jr., they face the possibility of a direct competitor acquiring one of the best pass-catchers in the league. In a way, San Francisco adding either of them could also be seen as 'playing defense' in roster construction.
For instance, Florio mentions that the Los Angeles Rams had interest in trading for Beckham Jr. last year, but instead opted to acquire Brandin Cooks.
"But if the Rams want to make a big splash in 2019," he continues, "they could (in theory) dangle someone like receiver Robert Woods to the Giants as part of the package."
The Rams, of course, lost to the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. The talent gap between Los Angeles and San Francisco isn't as wide as it seems, but it would surely get wider if the Rams added the kind of dynamic receiver the 49ers so desperately need.
Ultimately, the 49ers have to decide what makes sense for them. They clearly need to upgrade the receiver position, and with both Brown and Beckham Jr. seemingly available for trade, the opportunity is there, should they choose to pursue it.
It can't hurt San Francisco to have multiple options. But you could make the argument that the only option the 49ers don't have in this situation is to miss out on this opportunity entirely.