The Patriots have addressed their receiving corps in multiple ways this week, first signing free agent Brandon Gibson and then restructuring the contract of Danny Amendola. Now they might do something more significant at the position. Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 tweets that the Pats are “targeting” free agent Stevie Johnson, whom the 49ers released Wednesday.
New England is familiar with Johnson, who spent the first six years of his career with AFC East rival Buffalo. The 28-year-old impressed as a member of the Bills from 2008-13, racking up three different seasons of 70-plus catches and over 1,000 yards. The Bills traded him to San Francisco last offseason and he wasn’t nearly as successful as a 49er, for whom he totaled just 35 catches in 13 games.
If Johnson lands with the Patriots, he’ll join a receiving corps that already includes Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell, Amendola and Gibson. Edelman and LaFell had far more productive 2014 campaigns than Johnson, whose numbers were more in line with the unspectacular ones amassed by Amendola and Gibson. Nevertheless, Pro Football Focus (subscription required) graded Johnson a terrific 22nd out of 110 qualifying wideouts last season.