The 49ers fill receiver need with Stevie Johnson trade


The 49ers have gone a familiar route to fill a glaring need at wide receiver.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the 49ers are trading for displaced Bills wideout Stevie Johnson.

The cost is a conditional 2015 fourth-round pick which could become a third.

It was clear the Bills were ready to move him after moving up to draft Sammy Watkins last night.

From the 49ers standpoint, It’s a reasonable deal for a guy who should produce right away, similar to the Anquan Boldin deal last offseason. Along with Michael Crabtree, it gives them a solid group, and will allow them to devote the rest of their draft picks to other positions.

149 responses to “The 49ers fill receiver need with Stevie Johnson trade

  1. So…. the incremental difference in performance between Stevie Johnson and Sammy Watkins is measured at TWO first-round draft picks. Shaking my head!!!!!

  2. Thats a good deal for a 4th rounder. You will be hard pressed to get his production from a 4th round rookie. This guy got open against Revis remember. Scrappy competitor. The rich get richer.

  3. sherman will shut him down, oh wait, i forgot, sherman does’nt cover the best recievers on the team, he got paid by covering 2’s and 3’s.

  4. Watkins has the makings to be better than Johnson. Maybe less drama, too.

  5. great value that is for sure. A fourth and at most third….very savvy 9ers, very savvy!

    I need the Lions to get value like this. The 9ers just got him for cheaper than we got Mike Thomas…wow!

  6. Great move by the 49ers.

    Top teams in the NFC this year:
    1. Vikings
    2. 49ers
    3. Rams

    These teams will all win 11+ games.

    NFC championship = Vikings vs 49ers

  7. From a Seahawks fan this is a great pickup ! Maybe not a long term option bc he wants to get paid but he’s a good good young player already proven to have a lot of ability ! Great job niners almost makes up for what I consider a poor day 1. Stevie for a 5th is a no brainier !

  8. Baalke and Harbaugh must have some serious dirt on all these teams. How the heck are they getting away with marquee players in exchange for low draft picks year after year? This sucks.

  9. I like it. We’ve been needing a viable speed guy for a few years now and Baalke reached for A.J. Jenkins a couple years ago to fill that void. I still want one of the young studs still on the board to replace Crabtree in case he doesn’t re-sign after the season, but at least now there’s no pressure to get a niche player at the WR position.

  10. Sherman completely shut down Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant. And Fitzgerald many times. And Crabtree (lol). People need to do their research on Sherman, because he covers and shuts down great receivers.

  11. Oakland should have traded a 4th (higher than 49ers pick) and then Draft CARR in 2nd today.

    Oh well.

    Maybe Marquise Lee unless he’s gone top 4 of round 2.

  12. Johnson is a mediocre talent who got fed the ball a lot in Buffalo because there was no one else. But he’s still better than Jon Baldwin.

  13. Good pick up by Santa Clara, was hoping Seattle was able to get him on the cheap.

  14. Hello cap space. I’m so happy right now, Stevie looked disinterested at times, and his play never backed up his talk. He couldn’t take over games, even though he was given so many chances to. He was great for the city, he really was, but not for the team.

  15. And Demaryius Thomas. Remember watching him get shut down? In the super bowl? Which seattle won by 35. Kiss the ring haters

  16. Never had chemistry with EJ and wasn’t the same without Fitzpatrick. He’s had a lingering groin problem for a couple seasons now. Wish him the best of luck in the bay.

  17. Nice!!! Check his numbers last time he faced Seattle. He Torched the LOB. Wow the Niners are stacked. Don’t forget about Brandon Lloyd too and it costed us nothing in this draft!! Great move Baalke!!!!!!

  18. I’m a little confused by this. Buffalo is trying to build up it’s receving corps by drafting Watkins and also having Robert Woods who showed flashes of great potential last year but wouldnt you want to to keep around your proven veteran receiver for at least another year or 2?

  19. I love that the story covered TWO MINUTES earlier indicates the 49ers love who is left, then shazzam, they trade for Johnson. Very good for the 49ers and Johnson, very, very curious for the Bills. There is clearly more to this than just getting an extra pick.

  20. To those who ask why the Bills didnt keep Johnson with Watkins, its because the team is also high on Robert Woods who nearly out produced Johnson last season as the #2 WR. They also have Tampas former #2 in Mike Williams in roster. And the team is still high on Marquise Goodwin who is probably the fastest WR in the NFL. They had the problem of having 4 starting WRs, a good problem. But with Johnsons salary skyrocketing next season, he would have been cut or renegotiated(probably cut). So getting a 3rd in return for him is a great deal for Buffalo. Especially when you consider he was a 6th round pick a few years back.

  21. It was his attitude problem that got him traded otherwise they would of kept him
    Thats a steal for the 49ers i guess nfl teams getting tired of the diva wr who yaps n yaps so much

  22. Consistently has destroyed Revis.

    Good trade for the 49ers.

    But ya draft Spiller and trade Marshawn, draft Sammy and trade Stevie…

    Spinning wheels…I don’t like it.

  23. How big of a smile is on Stevie’s face right about now.
    trouble is he will be hit a lot harder in the NFC than he ever was in the AFC east so he will probably have a lot of balls go off those butterfingers of his.

  24. For a conditional pick SF gets an at best #2 wr who is going to disappear in big moments, never take responsibility for disapoearing and yet still talk like he is Calvin johnson..later stevie

  25. I love my Buffalo Bills, but why would you trade talent away. Stevie Johnson has been nothing but a class act as a Bill. Personally he was one of my favorite players. I know we drafted Sammy Watkins, but they would have made a great duo. I don’t agree with the trade!!! Good Luck on the 49ers Stevie Johnson!!! #why so serious

  26. Also, the 49ers will soon learn WHY hes only worth a 3rd. Hes been plagued by injuries his entire career, usually playing through them. He also has an excruciatingly frustrating case of butterfingers. He won a game last season on a last second catch. At last count, hes 1 of 6 on such passes in the past 4 years.

  27. NFC West = NFL Best. Seattle, San Fran, St. Louis and Arizona came to play.

  28. These whiners sure know what they’re doing…trading for screw ups. St Louis will woop san fran all year, along with the rest of the NFC west. They need a WR corps of 7 footers to catch a pass from their loser of a qb losernick

  29. Crabtree, Bolding, and Johnson. Yeah, that’s a very solid group of WRs. Now they just need to get Kaepernick to become a better passer.

  30. BYE BYE you won’t be missed. 49ers fans……don’t get too excited bc when the time comes where he is needed to make a simple catch, it won’t happen and it will be everyone else’s fault. Stevie himelf cost the bills last years wk 1 game vs NE for dropping a ten yard slant on third down. Mike Williams and Watkins are a major upgrade to the position. Time for stevie to have an emotional breakdown on twitter….

  31. I don’t get why the Bills wouldn’t keep him for another season. He must be locker room poison. I think the Bills could have received a 3rd rnd pick for him but oh well. If EJ can’t stay healthy it won’t matter who is catching passes.

  32. Solid pick by the Niners. Lets see how he does vs the LOB. As for the guy hating on Sherman, he got paid to cover half the field not just cover 2’s and 3’s nice try though. Looks like Sherman isn’t the only guy teams have to worry should either.

  33. Something doesn’t make sense. Pretty good receiver for a 4th possible third NEXT YEAR. Why dump a guy for no compensation this year?

    That being said the NFC west is currently a fantastic chess match. One team builds one group, the other teams build the opposing group.

    San Fran’s receivers match well with seattles secondary
    At Louis d line matches well with SF and Seattle run game
    Arizona d line and secondary match well with mobile qbs

    Pay attention old school gms (afc N, NFC E) the game is changing for good.

  34. Great logical trade the simpler fan will hate…We go into next years off-season with the cap numbers for Mike Williams AND Stevie Johnson to go along with Woods, Goodwin and Watkins needing time and reps to develop, you lose all leverage on a trade…Teams will know we have to release either Williams or Johnson before next year so they wouldn’t even offer a 7th…I prefer trusting Mike Williams will mature and be a younger, longer term option than Stevie is so great to get value no even if its just a conditional 4th…

  35. Is Watkins going to split himself into two receivers otherwise as others have posted already I don’t understand this trade at all. Another reason the Bills are the Bills.

  36. Seattle A&M fans are following the KJR “Santa Clara” 49ers decree like the lemmings they are. Freaking drones . . . lol

  37. thats the deep threat we needed. our offense is set to destroy anyone in our path.

  38. Best slant route in the game. His killer crossover move will be missed in Buffalo. Excited about the young WR core the Bills have.

  39. As a diehard Bills fan, I don’t get why we just got rid of the only 1,000 yard receiver on our roster. Sure, we added Mike Williams (TB) this off season. Sure, we just added Sammy Watkins last night. Sure, last years 2nd round pick – Robert Woods of USC – outperformed Johnson last season. Sure, Stevie stated in the media last year that he didn’t work out in the off season. Sure, first year Head Coach Doug Marrone really seemed to clash with Johnson’s attitude last season. Sure, Johnson has missed games each of the last 3 seasons due to a lingering groin problem. Sure we drafted him in the 7th round and only got a 4th/3rd round pick for him. Wait, maybe I’m starting to see our front office angle on this one….

  40. Lloyd’s contract has zero guaranteed money so he counts for nothing if he doesn’t make the team. Patton now in danger of not making the team if he doesn’t step up. They will get Johnson to renegotiate his contract and he could still be cut or the deal voided on a physical if he won’t negotiate. 49ers will still draft a speedy WR during the draft. There is going to be a fierce competition at WR with only Boldin and Crabtree likely to be guaranteed a spot.

  41. Anyone remember that brutal drop against the Steelers in the endzone a few years back…Injury prone diva receiver.See ya.

  42. Well, now you see, with Watkins we already have our wide receiver and you only really play football with one wide receiver, so it made sense to trade a productive receiver like Stevie. This is what smart franchises do. Buffalo!

  43. thats what happens when you drop game winning touchdowns in the end zone….uncovered…….

  44. Stevie had his downfalls with some clutch drops….But who else made Revis Island look human back in the day? He is a superb route runner

  45. Damn. The Rams finally start putting things together just when Seattle and San Francisco are getting ridiculously good. We cant catch a break.

  46. Though on the slow side, Stevie is a great route runner…appears to be a good locker room guy, but has shown great immaturity numerous times during games….probably the receiver Revis has had the most difficult time covering…can’t be counted on to make the big catch / see 5 yard simple slant drop vs NE last year / see post pattern drop in end zone vs Pit in OT few yrs back / see ridiculous fumble in Toronto vs Atlanta last yr that blew winning FG drive…Good community guy, became expendable with Mike Williams trade (for a 6th), Watkins pick and last yr’s 2nd & 3rd round picks Woods and Goodwin…Bills recoup the 4th sent to Cleveland last night…4th could become a 3rd. Nice trade Bills…. Good luck & best wishes Stevie! I’m happy for you to be heading home.

  47. Fans criminally under-value picks. Bills pick up a solid pick and ship him out of the division. A win-win for both teams.

  48. Kaepernick will never get that far into the post snap read. Stevie will end up with a half a dozen catches all season.

    People are so hung up on Kaepernick’s “greatness” that they refuse to see that the QB position is a weakness on that team. Adding more receivers will do nothing. Boldin and Davis caught almost all the passes Kaepernick threw last season. 2 reads and he is gone.

  49. Why did the Jets not take him!?!? 11 draft picks left and they’re not willing to take him over a 4th rounder. SMH….

  50. All the people talking about him not being a #1 WR don’t get it. 49ers dont need him to be anything more than a #3 WR. And as a guy who basically worked Sherman(check the tape) the last time he faced him, he makes the 49ers a heck of a lot more effective against teams in their division. This is a huge pick up and the 49ers still have 5 picks today to keep adding talent.

  51. Love this trade. I hope Roman will figure out how to properly use Stevie in the game-plan. Stevie flat out dominated Richard Sherman during the game that occurred in week 15 of the 2012 season.

  52. All you need to win Superbowls is a great group of WRs.

    Just ask the Broncos, the 2007 Patriots, or Matt Millen.

    As to the 49er receivers matching up well with the Legion of Boom… LOL. They sure don’t match up when it counts. Only thing they matched up well against last season was the seat of the couch while they watched the Seahawks win the Superbowl. I’m sure the Legion of Boom was really intimidated by SF’s passing game while they were hoisting the Lombardi and NYC was showered in blue and green confetti.


  53. Let me educate the Buffalo haters and west coast football fans who don’t pay attention to the Bills and make snap judgments. Stevie Johnson only cost a 7th rd pick in 2008. In his years here he produced three 1,000 yd seasons. But…. he was aloof, never took a true leadership role, showed immense immaturity on many occasions (dropping OT TD vs Pittsburgh then blaming God, admitting to Jim Rome that he doesn’t work hard to achieve what he has, pretending to shoot himself in leg for TD celebration and many other penalties for excessive celebration). He never seemed to get it. He struggled with a bad groin for two seasons. His salary will be used to pay Sammy Watkins. The pick pays Buffalo back for one of the picks we gave up to acquire Watkins. And to think that this is an even talent for talent swap is insane. Sammy Watkins is an amazing blue chip prospect, way way better than Johnson and a better head on his shoulders. The Buffalo Bills hit a home run here. Putting Watkins with Robert Woods, Mike Williams and Marquise Goodwin is an awesome WR corps with no room for Stevie Johnson. You have been set straight.

  54. Few notes for the masses. Robert Woods is Stevie Johnson, except better. Marquise Goodwin will continue to get behind defenses, and Sammy Watkins will blow his production out of the water. His contract didn’t fit, and neither did his attitude. San Fran gave up a potential 3rd for possible injuries and some guaranteed drops. On a side note, did I really just read a Seahawk fan state that Sherman shut down Thomas in the Superbowl? Didn’t Thomas set a Superbowl record? And did Sherman even finish the game? Right, this is why everybody hates you.

  55. Don’t ever trust a grown man who goes by the name “Stevie”, at 27 he should be grown up enough to go by Steve!

    Always rooted for him, he’s a character. He did have too many crucial drops though, but wish him well.

  56. Once again the Pgh. brass miss out on gettin a guy with something, for practically nothing.

  57. Stevie Johnson is not a speed guy, if anything the Bills had a glut of similar receivers after Mike Williams was acquired. Between Johnson, Williams and Robert Woods, you’re looking at three guys who are very similar to each other.

    The 49ers gain another weapon and the Bills gain at least a 4th round pick to replace the one trades to the Browns in the Watkins trade.

  58. Harvin ($12.9M) counts more than Boldin, Crabtree and Johnson combined AND all three guys are 1,000 receivers and pro bowlers. Now THAT is how you manage your cap!

  59. That’s a nasty receiving corps in San Fran. A year ago they had the least yards from wide receivers of any team in the league, by quite a margin. Brandon Lloyd and Steve Johnson have both averaged over 70 catches per season the last three full seasons they played. Consider it fixed.

  60. Tired of all the “Bills Fans” saying bye bye butterfingers to the only WR is Buffalo history to have back to back to back 1000 yard seasons. Something that HOFers Andre Reed (future) and James Lofton couldn’t accomplish, nor Eric Moulds or Lee Evans. He dropped a pass against Pitt in a meaningless game when the team was 2-8…. Heck, they wouldn’t have picked #3 overall had they won that game. The vast majority of true Bills fans will miss Stevie… as a football player and a colorful character. Thank You and good luck Stevie… glad you get to go home and contend.

  61. The 9ers are loaded! Didn’t need a #1… they have 3! Boldin, Crab, and Davis. This just made it impossible for Seattle to cover. Kap, Gore, and Lattimore will gash them if they don’t bring a safety down. New champs!

  62. And the Buffalo Fire Sale has started! Get rid of big contracts so you can be more appealing to a new owner. Economics 101

  63. another reason the nfl draft is so darn interesting. you put this many GM’s together and you get trades for picks, and players involved. and it gets pretty exciting

    I’m no fan of Johnson, but he is a pretty capable WR who with the 49ers should do pretty well. this might be a fit if he shuts his mouth and doesn’t buy into the extra media attention he will get in SF that wasn’t there in Buffalo

  64. Love this traded. Add depth for sheattle rematch and even if one wr gets hurt we still got 2 outside guys and a future replacement for boldin. Could lead to interesting talks with Crabtree contract after this year.

  65. My condolences Bills Fans.
    I’m genuinely sorry to see such a loyal fan base going through a cruel joke like this years draft deals.

  66. Stevie Johnson is a great player who unfortunately didn’t fit into Buffalo’s plan:
    #1- Watkins
    #2- Williams
    #Slot- Woods
    Backups- Goodwin, Easley, Hogan and Barden.
    I’d be surprised if Buffalo kept any other receivers.

  67. How did Sherman shut down Megatron when he was getting torched as he covered Titus Young most of the game?

  68. This is a particularly impressive move by the Bills. Not so much for the value, but for the guts it takes and statement it makes about moving forward. Stevie is a good to great WR and a genuine solid individual. Immature at times, sure, but still a quality guy.

    The problem is he’s come up short when it matter on more than one occasion. Last season vs Atlanta, however, was the last straw. When it mattered, he fumbled the game away. Any distant hope in the season. You can only allow for so many mistakes before you change directions. The Bills decided it was time. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision.

    I wish Stevie good luck. The 49ers got a great player. I respect the Bills making a decision I don’t imagine them making under Nix.

  69. Baalke is tryin to make good on Harbaugh’s 5 #1’s statement from 2 years ago LOL

  70. Matt Millen approves of this trade. He’s still trying to figure out how to field a team of 11 WR’s on offense and defense.

  71. I don’t get this from the bills side. They finally get some help for their QB… So he has OPTIONS instead of ONE GUY.

    BUT, then they immediately trade the guy they had. It’s like 1 step forward and one step back. They got nowhere.

    I get it from the 49ers side. They need some speed as neither Boldin or Crabtree are particularly nimble or swift. Both have size though.

    Fantasy note… This probably kills any value Vernon Davis had left.

  72. Stevie can be somewhat of a drama queen and always seems to drop or fumble the ball when the game is on the line. He’s always been a #2 WR playing on a team as a #1 and in my opinion Robert Woods has the potential to be a far better WR than him.

  73. 49er fans are hilarious, talking about Sherman getting torched by anyone.

    Kinda like how he got torched by Crabtree, which led to the Seahawks losing the NFCCG and going home to watch the Santa Clara 49ers win the Superbowl.

    Or uhm… oh wait…


  74. I’m going to fall off my chair laughing while I watch Kaepernick trying to make WR reads downfield. I actually think this helps Boldin more than anything.

    Who will complete more passes? Manning to Bryant..,..or Kaep to Johnson? Both don’t fit the QB’s strength very well.

    But at least Bryant will give the effort….Johnson will have his typical good 3-4 games…then disappear for the other 12-13.

  75. We’ll see how excited 9ers are when he starts dropping balls in critical situations.

  76. Those who don’t get this trade only believe the hype about Stevie. Like many have stated he was a #2 WR his whole career on a bad team who has an engaging, diva like personality that has built up his national reputation. That being said, there is only one ball to be thrown on each play and the Bills already have a deep set of WR. Johnson was making way too much money for what he was worth to the Bills.

  77. I might be wrong but Sherman covered decker in the Super Bowl and shut him down. Thomas broke the Super Bowl record for receptions. So that’s not a good game for the corner covering him

  78. They have Crabtree and Boldin.

    It wasn’t a “glaring need”, but still an awesome addition.

    Iron Sharpens Iron

  79. All of these hawks fan talking about kaep being a weak spot. Check the QBR and realize he was killing you guys in the Super Bowl until the 4th quarter and even then it took 3 turnovers and a couple big calls that went your way for you to beat the Niners. The niners and hawks are the best teams in football and then their is everyone else. Putting the niners down only waters down your own accomplishments

  80. thegrigga49 says: May 9, 2014 3:12 PM

    Nice!!! Check his numbers last time he faced Seattle. He Torched the LOB. Wow the Niners are stacked. Don’t forget about Brandon Lloyd too and it costed us nothing in this draft!! Great move Baalke!!!!!!

    i remember this same sort of enthusiasm two years ago when the niners signed manningham and randy moss. all they added is two more average receivers for a quarterback with problems making decisions.

  81. I like it, they got him for next to nothing. Everyones so concerned with this missing “speed” receiver. This team has never had a dominant speed receiver. Look back at Jerry Rice’s 40 time, its a joke. They need playmakers, if all being a great receiver required was speed all teams would draft track stars.

  82. #1- Bills would have let Stevie walk for nothing after this year, so at least they got something for him.

    #2- Stevie didn’t gel with EJ Manuel, which isn’t good for a rookie QB you’re looking to develop. Stevie also didn’t get alogn with the new regime. If you’re looking to build, you cant have your “#1 guy” disagreeing with everyone.

    #3- SF just gets more of what they already have at WR. While it adds depth, Stevie is nothing more than a less talented Crabtrree.

  83. Kaep did not (and could not) play against Seattle in the Superbowl.

    In the NFCCG against Seattle though, his QBR was 65 or so…

    He is a running back with a strong arm. Not a QB.

    I hope SF pays him big bucks though.. it’ll be a quick trip to the mediocrity that San Francisco fans deserve.

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