It was reported Friday that the Patriots were “targeting” free agent wide receiver Stevie Johnson. If true, it appears they’ll have serious competition for the seven-year veteran’s services. Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that Johnson visited the Chargers on Friday. According to Gehlken, Johnson left San Diego unsigned, but the visit was a “positive” one and he’s likely to make a decision on his future “no later than Monday.”
The 49ers released Johnson earlier this week after a disappointing season that saw the 28-year-old total a mere 35 catches in 13 games. He does have a successful track record, though, having amassed 336 catches and 31 touchdowns during his career – mostly in Buffalo – and would lend help to a receiver-needy Chargers team.
San Diego has pursued big-time targets this offseason to improve its receiving corps, only to come up empty on the likes of Andre Johnson and Eddie Royal – both of whom signed with other clubs. Royal, who was a member of the Chargers the past three seasons, finished second among Bolts wideouts in receptions (62) and yards (778) in 2014. His seven touchdowns led all San Diego receivers. In the wake of his departure, the only starting-caliber receivers left on the Chargers’ roster are Malcom Floyd and Keenan Allen. Although effective, the two have combined for just a single 1,000-yard season (Allen in 2013), while Johnson has three to his name.
Johnson’s impressive career production has come despite never having played with an elite-level quarterback, which the Chargers have in Philip Rivers. During his six years with the Bills, Johnson was mostly on the receiving end of passes from journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, while his QB in San Francisco was Colin Kaepernick – who underwhelmed last season.