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Golden Nuggets: Could Antonio Brown shift the balance of power in NFC West?

A former NFL exec says the receiver could swing the division if he signs with a rival.

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After San Francisco 49ers’ receiver Deebo Samuel suffered a Jones fracture during a workout in Nashville, some NFL pundits wondered if the Niners should look into the possibility of signing troubled wideout Antonio Brown.

There is no doubt about Brown’s talents, but with his erratic behavior costing him all but one game during the 2019 season, many don’t think he’s worth the risk.

Former NFL executive, and current NFL analyst with The Athletic, Michael Lombardi joined 95.7 The Game to discuss some possible landing spots for the 31-year-old. He says if Brown lands with one of the 49ers’ divisional rivals, it could shift the balance of power in the NFC West (h/t 49ers Web Zone):

“I think Antonio Brown shifts the balance of power in the West (if he signs there), I think if Seattle gets him, they become the favorite. I think if the 49ers get him, they maintain the favorite. Remember, we’re six inches away from Seattle hosting [a playoff] game. There’s that line of balance. Even though the Niners dominated come playoff time, that little bit of balance that’s in that conference, I think, is going to be shifted. Antonio Brown would make Seattle, to me, an NFC Super Bowl contender immediately, and he would ensure that the 49ers had their place.”

The Seattle Seahawks would get an immediate boost by signing Brown —but again— we don’t know where he’s at mentally. Still, imagining Brown catching passes from Russell Wilson is a dangerous sight for 49ers fans. Brown has 843 receptions for more than 11,000 yards, and 75 touchdowns over his 10-year career. He produces at a ridiculous clip when he’s actually on the field, and lining him up next to D.K. Metcalf would give The Hobbit two top-notch pass catchers.

This isn’t the first time San Francisco has been linked to Brown. General manager John Lynch shutdown rumors last year when the receiver originally asked for a trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers at the conclusion of the 2018 season.

The Niners and Seahawks played two close games last year, but San Francisco has had the better offseason. It looks like defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney won’t be back with Seattle, which is a big blow for its defense. The 49ers filled their biggest needs during the 2020 NFL Draft, taking defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw, and receiver Brandon Aiyuk, while trading for monster left tackle Trent Williams.

How would you feel about the Seahawks signing Brown? Do you agree with Lombardi that it could shift the balance of power in the division?

On to some links:

We don’t know what the financial fallout of the pandemic will be when it comes to the NFL. The Athletic’s David Lombardi does a deep dive on how a lower salary cap will impact the 49ers in the coming seasons.

Which nine NFL players are under the most pressure to perform next season?’s Adam Schein put together his list, and one 49er appears on it.

Lynch and the rest of the San Francisco brass decided it would benefit the team to keep defensive lineman Arik Armstead over All-Pro DeForest Buckner. SI’s Grant Cohn looks into why the Niners made that decision.

Speaking of the D-line, who is one player you’re looking at to step up in 2020? NBC Bay Area’s Alex Didion breaks down one former NFL exec’s thoughts on who could be a sleeper for San Francisco next season.

The 49ers will make the trip to the Big Apple early in their 2020 schedule to play against both New York teams. SI’s Nicholas Cothrel breaks down how the Giants look going into next year.

It’s never too early to start looking ahead to next year’s draft! NBC Bay Area’s Josh Schrock looks at who the Niners can potentially target in next April’s NFL Draft.