The San Francisco 49ers will start practicing on Thursday, and it appears Stevie Johnson will be on the field, ready to participate. The 49ers had players available to speak with the media on Wednesday, and Johnson informed the assembled group that he had passed his conditioning test and was cleared to begin practicing. Johnson had previously been working through a hamstring strain, which limited his work in the offseason workout program.
In the bubble watch, I've listed as Stevie Johnson as strong bubble, while including Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington as locks. The reason I had Johnson as strong bubble was two-fold. The first reason was the injury. I figured he would be back at some point, but until that was clear, I still wanted to wait and see. Johnson has had his share of hamstring and groin injuries, so it will be something to keep on the radar.
The second reason, and now more important now that he's healthy, is that he does not appear to have any guaranteed money coming his way. Over The Cap shows him as having a $3.65 million base salary this season, and a $275,000 workout bonus. Even if he qualified for the bonus in spite of his hamstring injury, it would appear that the 49ers could cut ties with him and not have to worry about significant dead money. If that's the case, I'm willing to wait and see how the next couple weeks go before moving him to lock. Realistically, there probably would be a category somewhere between lock and strong bubble. Basically he's probabyl the strongest of the strong bubble.
For now, the only thing that matters is he is ready for training camp, and set to get out on the practice field. That's all we could have hoped for heading into camp.