Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Brown could shift balance of power away from 49ers, says former NFL executive

Jun 30, 2020 at 11:33 AM--

There is a whole lot of speculation right now that Antonio Brown might rejoin quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa Bay. The veteran wide receiver played one game last year with Brady in New England and even hauled in a touchdown for the Patriots. Of course, that story has already been disputed.

Should Brown land with an NFC team like the Buccaneers, though, some believe that it could be enough to shift the balance of power within the conference. One former NFL executive turned analyst, Michael Lombardi, thinks that should Brown land with a team in the NFC West, like the Seattle Seahawks, it would shift the balance of power within the division away from the San Francisco 49ers.

Lombardi joined 95.7 The Game on Tuesday and was asked if he could see the Niners getting involved in taking a hard look at Brown.

"I think Antonio Brown shifts the balance of power in the West (if he signs there)," Lombardi said on the Joe, Lo & Dibs show. "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."

Lombardi believes that any contract offered to Brown would be incentive-laden, as the Patriots did with quarterback Cam Newton. The talented receiver may not be a fit for San Francisco, though. The 49ers had an opportunity to pursue Brown last year but opted not to do so. That decision turned out to be the right one at the time.

"We took a quick look, and then we just said, 'Hey, we're not interested in that for our team,'" general manager John Lynch said in March of 2019.

Lombardi also feels that despite the team's confidence heading into the 2020 season, the 49ers could see some regression.

Said Lombardi: "Now, I know John Lynch says [the 49ers are] better than ever, but I think they're going to have to prove, losing (DeForest) Buckner, that (Javon) Kinlaw can come in and do what Buckner can do because what Buckner did was really important for what they do defensively."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lombardi below.

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