One day after acquiring a new No. 1 receiver, the Buffalo Bills parted with their old one Friday. They traded Stevie Johnson to the San Francisco 49ers, the team said in a press release.
The Bills will receive a conditional fourth-round draft pick that can escalate to a third-rounder, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the terms hadn’t been formally announced
Johnson, 27, had a streak of three straight 70-catch, 1,000-yard seasons snapped in 2013, when he had 52 receptions for 597 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games.
“Stevie was a great contributor during his career with our organization,” said Bills General Manager Doug Whaley in a press release. “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.”
Johnson became expendable Thursday night when the Bills traded up to draft Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins at No. 4 overall. They also swung a trade last month with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for receiver Mike Williams.
The timing is somewhat precarious because the Bills paid Johnson a $1.75 million roster bonus in March as part of the five-year, $36.25 million contract they gave him in 2012. He’ll count $10.225 million in dead money on the Bills’ cap over the next year or two.
Johnson’s scheduled base salary for 2014 is $3.65 million, which now belongs to the 49ers.