The 49ers will acquire wide receiver Stevie Johnson from the Bills, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). San Francisco will send a conditional 2015 fourth-round pick to Buffalo, per sources, and that pick can become a third-round choice depending on Johnson’s performance.
While Johnson missed four games last year due to injury, the 49ers have managed to add a former No. 1 WR for relatively little. It’s not the first shrewd move San Francisco has made this offseason to obtain a big name. In recent weeks, the 49ers have obtained quarterback Blaine Gabbert for a sixth-round choice plus a conditional pick and offensive tackle Jonathan Martin for a conditional 2015 seventh-round choice. Gabbert was the 10th overall pick in the 2011 draft and Martin was Miami’s No. 42 pick in the 2012 draft.
With the deal, the Bills are essentially getting back the 2014 fourth-round choice that they sent to Cleveland in order to move up in last night’s draft. Effectively, the Bills gave up Johnson and next year’s first round pick in order to move up five spots and grab Sammy Watkins.
Last night, after the Bills moved up the board to grab Watkins, Joe Buscaglia of WGR reported that Buffalo was likely to dangle Johnson. The charismatic WR has been a star in Buffalo ever since his breakout campaign in 2010 where he hauled in 1,073 yards off of 82 receptions. A report out of Buffalo in February indicated that the Bills were getting tired of Johnson’s “act” and that may not have helped his case there.
Last season was Johnson’s least productive year since his emergence and he missed a quarter of the season due to injury. If Johnson stays on the field and finds himself reinvigorated in SF, Colin Kaepernick will have yet another tremendous weapon to work with. It’s also worth noting that while Michael Crabtree is in the final year of his contract, Johnson is signed through 2016. That could give the 49ers some extra leverage in talks with Crabtree and insurance in the event that he goes elsewhere.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.