Chargers to release Stevie Johnson

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Offensive lineman D.J. Fluker won’t be the only player leaving the Chargers as they get set for the start of the new league year.

Former Chargers beat reporter Michael Gehlken reports that the team will also be releasing wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Johnson’s contract called for him to make a $3.5 million base salary in 2017 and the Chargers will get that cap space back to use in other places.

Johnson didn’t play at all in 2016 after injuring his knee in the preseason and having surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He had 45 catches for 497 yards and three touchdowns in his first season with the Chargers and had three consecutive seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards with the Bills from 2010-12.

We’re well removed from those years at this point and expecting that kind of production from Johnson in 2017 would be a pretty big stretch. He may still draw interest as an experienced option to plug into a receiver group once he’s officially cut loose, although the timing of the move means he’ll have plenty of company in the marketplace.

UPDATE 11:43 a.m.: The Chargers announced the move.