According to Dianna Marie Russini of NBC4 in D.C., former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Stevie Johnson is "very likely" to sign with the New England Patriots today.
The 49ers officially released Johnson on Thursday because of his cap number of $6.025 million. They had hoped to bring Johnson back at a lower salary, but wanted to wait and see what kind of attention he gets in free agency.
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 looking good in New England. Sources say it is "very likely" WR Stevie Johnson signs with The Patriots. Deal could get done today.— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) March 16, 2015