The logjam was just too big to be ignored. With the offseason additions of Mike Williams via trade and Sammy Watkins in round one of the 2014 NFL draft Thursday night, there was a bounty of wide receiver talent on Buffalo's roster. On day two of the NFL draft, the Bills moved their most tenured receiver off the roster. Stevie Johnson was traded to the San Francisco 49ers for an undisclosed 2015 draft choice.
"Stevie was a great contributor during his career with our organization," said Bills GM Doug Whaley. "Today's decision was not an easy one to make, especially involving a player like Stevie who leaves everything he has on the field and is an emotional leader in our locker room. All of the decisions we make are done so in the best interest of our team. We wish him the best of luck in San Francisco and throughout the rest of his NFL career. We also want to thank Stevie and his family for their commitment to the Buffalo Bills and the community over the last six years."
The draft choice from the 49ers allows Buffalo to recoup a choice for next year's draft that they lost in the trade to move up Thursday night to select Watkins with the fourth overall pick.
A former seventh-round pick, Johnson was the team's number one option in the passing game for the Bills the last four seasons. Since 2010 Johnson led the team in receptions, receiving touchdowns and yards. He produced 26 touchdowns and had three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (2010-2012) over the last four years.
Johnson, in his first season under Doug Marrone, was moved to the slot full time where his unconventional route running skills would be a greater asset. Unfortunately injuries kept Johnson out of the lineup for four games as he managed just 52 receptions for 597 yards and three touchdowns. It was a trying season for the veteran receiver, who played last December in Jacksonville just a day after finding out his mother had tragically passed away.
For Johnson the trade represents an opportunity to go home. A San Francisco native, Johnson grew up rooting for the 49ers.