The San Francisco 49ers have acquired wide receiver Stevie Johnson from the Buffalo Bills for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2015 NFL draft. Johnson was made expendable after Buffalo moved up to the fourth pick in the draft last night to select former Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) May 9, 2014
For those 49ers fans who were crying foul after they passed up on a wide receiver in the first round, you’re welcome. Does this end the questioning Trent Baalke part of the relationship?
In all seriousness, this is a huge move for the 49ers, who are apparently now hemorrhaging wide receivers capable of putting up 1,000 yards. Johnson may have had a down season last year, going for less than 600 yards and three scores. A lot of that had to do with horrible quarterback play when EJ Manuel went down with injury and having a rookie quarterback under center.
Just two seasons ago, Johnson went for over 1,000 yards and six scores. In fact, prior to last season, Johnson had put up three consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns. He does a solid job getting down the field and opening up lanes for the quarterback to throw the ball through.
Consistency has also been one of Johnson’s strong points. From 2011-2013, he went for 60-plus yards in half the games he played in. While that might change in San Francisco with the numerous amount of passing targets Colin Kaepernick now has, it’s a sign that Johnson will be ready to make an impact each and every game he steps on to the field.
Acquiring the talented receiver for a mid-round pick next year was an absolute coup. It enables the 49ers to potentially go best player available with each of its five Day 2 picks. More than that, it gives Kaepernick one of the top receiving groups in the NFL. Johnson will now team up with Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, making Kaepernick’s job just that much easier.
In reality, who are defenses going to focus on? Well, we know for one that Richard Sherman probably won’t be lining up against Johnson…
In any event, the 49ers now have three starter-caliber receivers in 2014 and a few decisions to make beyond that. Crabtree is set to become a free agent and will likely demand true No. 1 wide receiver money. Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Johnson is set to count just $16 million against the cap over the next three seasons. It will be interesting to see how all that plays out moving forward.
Photo: Kim Klement, USA Today