The San Francisco 49ers trade for Stevie Johnson. That was the news that flashed across the internet like a shot out of nowhere Friday afternoon. Having not traded their first round selection after much speculation to the contrary, the 49ers ended up finding an excellent receiving weapon for nothing more than a conditional 2015 fourth-rounder.
Johnson, 27, has been the Bills’ primary playmaker in recent years. Out of Kentucky, Stevie Johnson has impressed consistently with his speed and ability to open up the field. Though he has at times struggled with drops and criticism, he also has had to deal with a lot of coaching turnover and quarterback inconsistency.
Pairing Johnson with Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin, not to mention Vernon Davis, will make for a dangerous receiving corps. Nevertheless, the 49ers could still address the issue with a rookie. I would argue that, even with Quinton Patton waiting in the wings, it is necessary that they do so.
Johnson also becomes one of the teams’ taller receiving weapons. At 6-2, he stands above both Crabtree and Boldin.
The 49ers also picked up Brandon Lloyd after a year’s hiatus. Lloyd, however, is looking less and less likely to make the team in training camp.
Though the 49ers also must address the cornerback position and linebacker, it still seems likely that Trent Baalke and company will use one of their day two picks on a receiving weapon. NinerNoise has consistently pushed for Martavis Bryant and, now with three solid receivers (plus Davis) for the upcoming season, thinks Bryant would be an even better option. Stevie Johnson can open the field, Bryant can win in the red zone, and having this many weapons would lower the stress on Bryant as he tries to improve his route running and adjust to the NFL. It seems like a win-win all around.
What will happen, however, remains to be seen. What we know now is that the 49ers all of the sudden have a very, very solid receiving corps in the works.