The Bills traded next year’s first- and fourth- round picks to the Browns on Thursday and then took Sammy Watkins with the fourth pick, giving their receiving corps a new top dog.
They traded the old one to the 49ers on Friday, sending Stevie Johnson back to his home state in exchange for a conditional 2015 draft pick that could wind up as high as a third rounder. General Manager Doug Whaley released a statement praising what Johnson brought to the team and saying that it was in Buffalo’s “best interest” to proceed without him.
“Stevie was a great contributor during his career with our organization,” Whaley said. “Today’s decision was not an easy one to make, especially involving a player like Stevie who leaves everything he has on the field and is an emotional leader in our locker room. All of the decisions we make are done so in the best interest of our team. We wish him the best of luck in San Francisco and throughout the rest of his NFL career. We also want to thank Stevie and his family for their commitment to the Buffalo Bills and the community over the last six years.”
Johnson suffered through a trying 2013 because of injuries and the loss of his mother, but he put up three straight years with at least 76 catches and 1,000 receiving yards heading into the year. Buffalo will now build their receiving corps around Watkins, recent acquisition Mike Williams and second-year wideout Robert Woods and it could be a better group than any that Johnson was a part of with the Bills.
So is the one that he’ll be joining in San Francisco, though, and that may make today’s deal in everyone’s best interests.