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Stevie Johnson trying to lock down No. 3 receiver role

Steve Johnson topped 1,000 yards for three straights seasons in Buffalo from 2010-2012. Now he's making the surprising transition to a role player in San Francisco.

There are questions in San Francisco whether Johnson has even locked up the No. 3 receiver job. Asked about Johnson's role Thursday, offensive coordinator Greg Roman simply said the team "doesn't put numbers on them."

Roman was pressed on the issue whether Johnson would be on the field when they had three receivers.

"It depends. It depends. I think we'll have some flexibility there," Roman said.

CSN Bay Area lightly suggested that Johnson isn't even a lock to stay on the roster at his scheduled $3.925 million salary, which is a big number for a reserve. Reporter Matt Maiocco cited a lack of chemistry between Johnson and Colin Kaepernick. Roman admitted that Johnson needs to "develop" that chemistry. Even Johnson knows that he's no longer a featured part of the offense.

"I'm pretty sure everybody already knows the bulk of it will be with Crab and Boldin," Johnson said Wednesday. "So we're just fitting in right after them."

Johnson is competing with Brandon Lloyd, Quinton Patton, and rookie Bruce Ellington for snaps. It's hard to believe the 49ers would keep Lloyd over Johnson, but it's not a great sign that Johnson hasn't secured the No. 3 job at this stage. He's paid like a guy that needs to be on the field plenty.

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