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Niners want Stevie Johnson to take pay cut

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The San Francisco 49ers want to keep Stevie Johnson, but not at his current price tag.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday that a pay cut looms for the veteran wideout scheduled to make $5.5 million next season, according to a pair of sources informed of the team's thinking.

Amid whispers that Johnson is a candidate to be released, the team simply wants to lower his cap hit heading into free agency.

With Michael Crabtree set to go to market, the Niners have a potential need at receiver. Johnson, though, remains in good graces with the club after growing into one of Colin Kaepernick's favorites targets during their first season together.

The former Bills pass-catcher hauled in 35 passes for 435 yards and three scores in 2014, finishing third on the team in catches behind Anquan Boldin and Crabtree.

While the 49ers remain a candidate to add wideouts through free agency and the draft, talk of Johnson's departure remains premature.

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