Stevie Johnson to be cut by San Francisco 49ers


Less than a year after a trade brought him to San Francisco, Stevie Johnson will be released.

Positional breakdowns

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that the Niners will release Johnson today pending wideout Torrey Smith passing his physical and signing his new deal.

Johnson refused to take a pay cut, facilitating his release, per Rapoport. 

With Smith's addition, San Francisco will move forward utilizing a depth chart that includes the speedy free agent pickup, Anquan Boldin, Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton.

The 49ers gave up a fourth-round pick in a draft-day trade last season to acquire Johnson, who posted three 1,000-yard seasons from 2010 to 2012. However, the 28-year-old could never find a rapport with quarterback Colin Kaepernick and caught just 35 passes for 435 yards and three scores before missing the final three weeks with a knee injury.

Johnson's stock has fallen off a steep cliff the past two seasons. As an elusive route-runner well fitted for the option-game, Johnson can give press-coverage cornerback fits. But that same skill can also makes it difficult to gain chemistry with a quarterback, as we've seen the past two years.

Still, we expect the receiver to easily find a landing spot to battle for a role as a complimentary veteran who can play on the inside or outside of formations.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast analyzes early free agency news, including Ndamukong Suh to Miami, Devin McCourty's new deal and much more. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.