Fooch's Note: Johnson agreed to a five year $36.5 million contract.
Sunday turned into a busy day as news started pouring out late in the evening about possible deals. The NFL deadline for applying the franchise tag is 1:00pm PT today, so contracts and tags are happening in a flurry. The big news is that Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson is close to working out a five year contract extension with the team. There were reports of optimism in recent weeks, but not much had happened lately. Now it sounds like a deal could happen any time now.
A deal for Stevie Johnson weakens the wide receiver class and could set the benchmark for contracts this offseason. Johnson reportedly wants $8 million a year, and Pierre Garcon may have turned down $7 million a year from the Colts. The top end of this year's free agency class will include the likes of Mike Wallace and Vincent Jackson, with Mario Manningham, Robert Meachem and others below that. Dwayne Bowe is likely to receive the franchise tag, which has to happen today.
If Johnson reaches his deal today or tomorrow, it could allow some additional wide receiver dominos to fall. Or, it could simply increase acrimony between teams not looking to pay a given amount of their receivers. Either way, getting Johnson signed will impact the rest of the market.
We are now a week and a day away from the start of free agency. The rumor mill will start heating up in spite of the fact that teams aren't supposed to interact with opposing teams' free agents until March 13. But, of course, we all know how frequently that works out. It will be interesting to see which receivers the 49ers are attached to in the coming week. The team will be signing at least one or two receivers, although we really don't know what they are going to decide is the best course of action within that group.