Stevie Johnson takes his Act to San Francisco

The 49ers picked up one of the more interesting individuals in the National Football League by trading for Stevie Johnson, sometimes referred to as "The Joker" for a conditional 4th round pick next season which at best could turn out to be a 3rd round selection based on certain details in the contract.  Speaking of which Johnson is a bargain at the age of 27 he is only owed approximately $5 million a season for the next 3 years.

I've seen plenty of #13 out there in Stevie Johnson and I can tell you that this guy knows how to play the wide receiver position.  He's had no quarterback, been the main focus of every defensive opponent and still manages to have a solid game every week.  He's the only player I've seen in this league to consistently get the best of Darrelle Revis who played for the New York Jets at the time and has recently signed with the New England Patriots.  So the AFC East is back on Revis Island.  But he for one will be glad that Stevie Johnson is off and has gone across the country and away from the AFC completely.
The Bills are headed in a different direction but it will ultimately end the way it has for years.  Buffalo's defense is poor, the offense has question marks all over the place despite the acquisition of  WR Sammy Watkins and they lack stability throughout the organization.  The unfortunate death of long time franchise owner Ralph Wilson this past March will not help with the stability part.  Wilson was a true pioneer and ambassador of the NFL and AFL and you would be hard pressed to find a better person in general.

Back to the title question.  Johnson is a great addition to the 49ers who hoped to get a top notch WR in the draft but the ones they coveted were no longer available by the time the 30th overall pick came around.  The Niners addressed a lot of important needs through their 12 picks in 7 rounds.  They focused on defense, grabbed a top tier RB and added Bruce Ellington, a wide out from South Carolina in the 4th round.  Now they have Stevie Johnson on the squad and he brings a heck of a lot more than that "Joker" characteristic.

Mario Manningham is back with the New York Giants now so he had to be replaced with a third option at WR to compliment Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin.  Not to mention the beast pass catching Tight End in Pro Bolwer Vernon Davis, now the San Francisco 49ers have plenty of options with the addition of Johnson to be a real offensive threat every Sunday.

Buffalo is pretty much the land of the lost when it comes to football teams.  Becoming part of the Bills is usually one step closer to retirement.  So nobody really knew how good Stevie Johnson was and is today.  They just remember certain negative antics by Johnson like the time he mimicked Plaxico Burress by pretending to shoot himself in the leg which as you remember Burress really did accidentally when his gun fired at a night club and struck Plaxico himself.  That was a bad move and was fined $10,000 for it.  He was also fined $5,000 for wearing the "Joker" shirt which had the phrase "why so serious" aimed at Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson after the whole Batman & Robin concept came out while they were teammates in Cincinnati with the Bengals.

Like I said, you don't know much else about Stevie Johnson except for what ESPN and other stations show you.  Remember he's only 27 years young and to this day is the only player able to consistently play well against Darrelle Revis.  Here's his stats and remember he has dealt with a long list of quarterbacks, none of which were any good by pro football standards.  He went over 1,000 yards from 2010 - 2012 and only fell off last season because of various injuries and a rookie quarterback.

Stevie Johnson had been the focal point of the WR squad in Buffalo for about 4 season which can add extra pressure to the player, plus the fact that teams would roll their coverage towards him or flat out just double team the guy.  This led to lower catches, yards and touchdowns during his first few years in the league because every defense focused their attention on how to keep Johnson from taking over the game.

Now Johnson won't have to worry about being the man and can let his play do the talking for him.  Crabtree, Boldin and Vernon Davis are all currently ahead of Stevie on the list and for a player of his caliber I think that's amazing.  I for one can't wait to see how he abuses the linebacker's, safety's and nickel backs that attempt to cover him when corners always report a difficult afternoon against Stevie Johnson.  He's 6'2 and about 15 pounds and the man is strong.  He has the potential to fit right in with the Niners scheme.

As much as they love to run the ball and control the clock, demonstrated by taking Ohio State stud RB Carlos Hyde in the 2nd round., the Niners can't avoid the amount of pas catching weapons they have which also means Colin Kaepernick better be working on those long throws and trying to develop some touch on his passes.  The Niners got themselves a really solid football player who's still young and may finally have matured at 27 and give the team, the fans and the city hope for the future as he joins an already solid regime.


Anonymous said...

Good article! As a Bills fan living in Buffalo I can say 1st hand the Bay area not only acquired a great WR but also an incredible community member!

Jason Feirman said...

You're exactly right. I happen to be a 49ers fan and am very happy with the acquisition. Thanks for checkin in!

Chinwe Orie said...

I'm not expecting big things from Johnson in San Francisco, but his presence alone not only will get him some adequate touches, but he stretches the field more (which I think is the most important thing he brings to the 49ers).

Jason Feirman said...

Well said man. He won't have big numbers but he opens up opportunities for others.

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