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Does this feel like déjà vu to you? Today, the San Francisco 49ers officially announced the release of wide receiver Stevie Johnson. Yesterday, Johnson had indicated on Twitter that he was no longer with the team while general manager Trent Baalke denied that claim. It turns out that the paperwork simply had not been processed yet. Today, the 49ers are making it official.
The team had hopes of restructuring his contract to lower his salary, but were unable to come to a mutual agreement.
Both sides were reportedly leaving the door open for a return at a lower price, but Johnson has already stated that he has another team in mind for his future. If that is the case, it is unlikely that he returns.
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.
Two more deals
The 49ers also officially announced the re-signing of quarterback Blaine Gabbert to a two-year deal and tight end Garrett Celek to a one-year deal.