As the veteran receiver market grows via the release of multiple veteran receivers under contract, more and more receivers will be facing a take-a-pay-cut-or-take-a-hike ultimatum.
The group of veteran receivers facing that dilemma includes 49ers receiver Stevie Johnson. Acquired via trade in 2014, Johnson never became fully engaged in the San Fran offense, resulting in only one start, 35 catches, 435 yards, and three touchdowns.
With a new coaching staff, a base salary of $5.5 million, a $275,000 workout bonus, and a $250,000 roster bonus due in March, the 49ers want Johnson to take a pay cut, per a league source. According to another source, however, a request to accept less has not yet been made.
Diana Russini of NBC 4 in Washington reports that the 49ers are expected to release Johnson. It’s possible he’ll simply be cut without any discussion about taking less. Chances are, however, that a cut would be preceded by a negotiation. Eventually, Johnson most likely will be asked to take less in order to stay.
Any analysis regarding a reduced offer includes gauging the market elsewhere. It’s tampering for other teams to tell Johnson’s agents what they’d pay for him, but it’s prudent for the agents of any players facing this Let’s Make A Deal conundrum to try to peek behind Door No. 2 before rejecting Door No. 1.
The growing glut of veteran receivers coupled with the instant impact made by rookies likely means Johnson won’t be getting $6.05 million from the 49ers (or likely from anyone else) in 2015. Look for something to be finalized before the roster bonus comes due on the fifth day of the new league year.