Former San Francisco 49ers starting cornerback Dontae Johnson is signing with the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks, according to a report by Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.


Johnson visited with the Seahawks on March 20 and the Minnesota Vikings this week.

After starting just six games during his previous three seasons, Johnson started all 16 for San Francisco in 2017. He registered 77 combined tackles, an interception, and seven passes defensed last season.

Johnson was the 49ers' worst-graded defensive back in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus. He started opposite Rashard Robinson and then Ahkello Witherspoon following Robinson's trade to the New York Jets. The 49ers did not attempt to re-sign Johnson, who was benched twice late last season. Although, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh described one incident more as a "breather" than a benching.

"That whole sequence, when you go through a drive like that the thought process behind that whole sequence with Johnson is just give him a breather," Saleh said in December regarding Johnson leaving the field against the Houston Texans last season. "Just relax, calm down, you'll be fine."

Johnson entered the NFL as the 49ers' fourth-round draft pick out of NC State in 2014. Over his four-year career, he has registered 158 combined tackles, two interceptions, and 21 passes defensed.

As noted by Garafolo, the signing means a swap in starting cornerbacks between the two NFC West teams. On March 10, the 49ers signed former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman to a three-year deal worth up to $39 million.

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