Today, the San Francisco 49ers released wide receiver Stevie Johnson according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area. The team had hopes of restructuring his contract to lower his salary, but were unable to come to a mutual agreement.
Both sides are reportedly leaving the door open for a return, but at a lower price.
The move saves the team $6.025 million with no dead. The release was expected for some time, with NBC anchor Dianna Marie Russini first reporting the move on February 28.
The 49ers signed Torrey Smith, the former Baltimore Ravens wide receiver, to a 5-year, $40 million deal with $22 million guaranteed. They also brought in Jerome Simpson, the former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver.
Johnson played his first six seasons with the Buffalo Bills before joining the 49ers this past offseason via a pre-Draft trade. His inherited salary was seen as hefty at the time, but the 49ers likely figured that it could be restructured down the road, which apparently was not the case.
In 2014, Johnson had 35 receptions for 435 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson had three 1,000+ yard seasons in Buffalo. While he only had 35 receptions, he was targeted only 49 times according to Pro Football Focus, leading to a 102.0 passer rating on throws in his direction.
It's official: The 49ers have released WR Stevie Johnson, according to source.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) March 11, 2015