Fooch's Update: Russini doubling down on her report
Other sources in the league have confirmed Stevie Johnson will be cut. #49ers— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) February 28, 2015
And just like that, we have conflicting information about Stevie Johnson's status with the San Francisco 49ers. Washington, D.C. reporter Dianna Russini reported a source indicated the 49ers were expected to release Johnson and thus save $6 million in cap room. A couple hours later, there are a couple different reports indicating the situation is not quite so clear cut.
Matt Maiocco was first to report that Johnson's future is uncertain, but a source told him Russini's report is false. That has since been followed up by reports from Ian Rapoport and Pro Football Talk. Rapoport tweeted that a pay cut "looms" for Johnson. PFT is reporting one source said the 49ers want Johnson to take a pay cut, and another source said the request had not yet been made.
According to PFT, the 49ers would owe Johnson a $250,000 roster bonus on the fifth day of the new league year (March 14). While they might re-negotiate that, the $5.5 million base salary is the slightly bigger issue. Jason LaCanfora had an interesting article about the wide receiver market, and the notion that it will be a strong buyer's market. If that indeed proves to be true, it might make sense for Johnson to negotiate a pay cut that would still get him a nice chunk of change.
Johnson had a solid year when he was on the field, emerging as the team's most efficient reserve in yards per route run (per Pro Football Focus). However, injuries got in the way. The 49ers dealt a fourth round pick for Johnson, so ideally they would negotiate a new deal to avoid essentially wasting the pick. Johnson has a lot to offer if healthy, so ideally they get something figured out in the next week.