The 49ers sign Brandon Aiyuk for a rookie contract; only one draft pick left

The Seattle Seahawks were reportedly having internal discussions about signing talented but controversial free agent free receivers Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon as recently as this week.

Regardless of how you view those possible signings, it’s hard to deny that they give Colin Cowherd’s theory of 49ers dominance even more weight.

Essentially, Cowherd believes that the recent major moves the other teams have made in the NFC West have been a direct response to San Francisco’s rise.

“I think the San Francisco 49ers are so formidable,” Cowherd said Wednesday in “The Herd,” “that he’s forcing everyone in his division, Seattle, the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona, to throw big hits.”

“When you get up in the morning in that division and look at San Francisco, you see what seems to be the best young coach in the NFL, the best tight end in the NFL, the best defensive line, and most are really, really young and getting better. You have a better-than-average young franchise quarterback who could be there for 10 years, and a front office that seems to know what they’re doing. It’s scary. “

Last season, the Seahawks signed Gordon’s waiver the week before their first meeting with the 49ers. San Francisco was undefeated (8-0) at the time. A few weeks earlier, the Rams paid a king’s ransom by trading for cornerback Jalen Ramsey. And earlier this offseason, the Cardinals traded for All-Pro catcher DeAndre Hopkins after the 49ers nearly won the Super Bowl.

While all of those players are very talented in their own right, Cowherd doesn’t see the timing of those transactions as random. Rather, he sees them as attempts by those teams to do what they can to keep the gap between them and San Francisco from growing. He compared it to the SEC’s reaction to Alabama coach Nick Saban’s dominance and the AFC East’s response to the superiority of the New England Patriots.

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“San Francisco is not going to go away,” Cowherd continued. “They just gave Kyle Shanahan another extension. [Jimmy] Garoppolo reached a Super Bowl in his first full year (he is 21-5) as a starter. [Nick] Bosa is better than we thought he would be in the NFL. George Kittle is indecipherable, and all those young receivers like Deebo [Samuel] seems to be getting better with the game.

“So I think at some point, there is a fear of Niner in that division. You better take some big cuts and big changes and big chances, or you will be buried by that Niner avalanche for a long time.”

The 49ers deservedly have a goal behind them in the NFC West. That is likely only adding to the challenge of returning to the Super Bowl, but you can be sure that any of your divisional opponents would be happy to change places.